The aftermath of India's 2024 elections: BJP must address concerns of Dalit, Muslim, and Maratha communities, say experts

13 June,2024 12:01 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Ronak Mastakar

The Lok Sabha Election Results 2024 pose critical questions about the future trajectory of the BJP and its leadership.

PM Narendra Modi/ AFP

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The Lok Sabha election results 2024 have marked a significant shift in the Indian political landscape, signalling what many perceive as a downturn for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). For a party and leader that has enjoyed unprecedented popularity and a series of electoral victories over the past decade, the latest results pose critical questions about the future trajectory of the BJP and its leadership.

Implications for Narendra Modi and the BJP

The Lok Sabha election results 2024 have significant implications for both Narendra Modi and the BJP. For Modi, who has been the face of the party and its key electoral asset, the results indicate a need to reassess and possibly recalibrate his approach and policies. His ability to adapt to the changing political dynamics will be crucial in maintaining his leadership position within the party and the country.

For the BJP, the results suggest a potential need for introspection and strategy overhaul. The party will need to address the economic and social issues that have eroded its support base, rebuild its alliances, and perhaps even reconsider its centralisation of power. Engaging more effectively with regional leaders and accommodating diverse viewpoints within the party could be vital steps towards regaining its electoral strength.

A decline in seats

The most striking feature of the 2024 election results is the decline in the number of seats secured by the BJP compared to previous elections. According to the results for all Lok Sabha constituencies, the BJP won 240 of the 543 seats and the Congress 99. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance has comfortably crossed the majority mark of 272 in the 543-member Lok Sabha though the BJP lost its outright majority. This reduction not only indicates a loss of confidence among voters but also challenges the party's ability to form a stable government without the support of coalition partners.

What World media had to say about the Lok Sabha election results 2024

The "aura of invincibility" around Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been "shattered" by the Indian voters who gave the Opposition a new lease on life, this is how the international media described the outcome of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

The New York Times started its report by noting, "Suddenly, the aura of invincibility around Narendra Modi has been shattered."

Terming the results as "unexpectedly sobering," it noted that they were a "sharp reversal a decade into Mr Modi's transformational tenure."

For the past decade, India has been "synonymous internationally with its prime minister, Narendra Modi. But on June 4, as final election results poured in, the electorate appeared to show dissatisfaction with the status quo and placed the serial winner onto shaky ground," The Washington Post wrote.

There was "tepid support for his Hindu nationalist party, piercing the air of invincibility around the most dominant Indian politician in decades," it said.

What leaders had to say:

Harshal Pradhan, Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson and a close associate of Uddhav Thackeray, stated that Narendra Modi's downfall has begun. "The BJP, which aimed to eliminate Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena (UBT), is now on the brink of collapse. Uddhav Thackeray has initiated the BJP's downfall," he said.

Highlighting the reasons for the BJP and Narendra Modi's downfall, Pradhan said, "Narendra Modi's language throughout the elections was full of pride and hatred. The way Modi called Uddhav Thackeray ‘nakli santan' and also called Shiv Sena (UBT) ‘nakli Shiv Sena', not only people from Maharashtra but people across the country saw Narendra Modi's real face. No Prime Minister has lowered the dignity of his post as much as he has. But the people of this country are smart and have realized that there has been no development in the last 10 years of Modi's governance. The voters in this country know the importance of their vote, and in this election, they demonstrated that awareness."

The BJP has attributed the drop in their numbers to a change in the voting pattern. Niranjan Shetty, chief spokesperson for BJP Mumbai, said, "The change in voting pattern is the reason behind the decline in our numbers. A certain community decided to oppose the BJP and its policies due to their conservative mindset, while others did not share this viewpoint. We understand the difference. Despite this, we remain committed to working for the common good and the interests of economically disadvantaged people. Our agenda has always been nation first, party next, and self last. We will continue to work towards that goal."

Shetty further stated that the party will introspect to understand what went wrong and will continue to work for the betterment of the people.

"‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas' will always be our agenda, irrespective of the election outcome, because this is a continuous process. We have accepted the public's decision. Of course, introspection will be done. We will work harder and ensure that our party workers concentrate on our key voters. The purpose of forming a government is to restore their rightful rights," he said.

What experts had to say:

Several factors have contributed to the BJP's and Modi's diminished performance in the Lok Sabha elections 2024. A senior journalist, who wished not to be named said, economic issues such as unemployment, inflation, and agrarian distress have been at the forefront of voters' concerns. "Despite the government's efforts to project economic growth and development, the ground reality for many voters has been one of financial struggle and uncertainty. Even certain policies and decisions, including the agricultural laws, and the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), have sparked widespread protests and dissatisfaction. These issues have alienated significant sections of the electorate, including farmers, minorities, and youth," he said.

The senior journalist further said that the rise of strong regional parties and leaders has also played a crucial role in the BJP's electoral decline. "In states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, regional parties have consolidated their positions and mounted effective challenges to the BJP's dominance," he said.

He further pointed out that one of the most notable aspects of the Lok Sabha elections in 2024 has been the unity among opposition parties. "Learning from past electoral defeats, opposition parties have formed strategic alliances and presented a more cohesive front against the BJP, successfully challenging it in several key states," the senior journalist added.

Political analyst Abhay Deshpande described this as a clear downfall for Narendra Modi and the BJP. "Yes, it is a downfall for Narendra Modi and the BJP. The impact Modi had in 2014 has diminished. The decline in BJP's numbers is due to various factors, including the aspirational crowd shifting towards Congress and the consolidation of minorities. Economic issues like inflation, the agrarian crisis, and social issues like the CAA and NRC have also contributed to the BJP's decline," he said.

Deshpande further stated that the BJP needs to find a solution to address the combination of Dalit, Muslim, and Maratha communities to improve their chances in future elections.

The road ahead

As the dust settles on the Lok Sabha elections 2024, the focus will inevitably shift to how the BJP and Narendra Modi respond to this setback. The ability to learn from these results and implement effective changes will determine their prospects. Meanwhile, the opposition parties, buoyed by their success, will aim to consolidate their gains and present a robust alternative to the electorate.

In the ever-evolving landscape of Indian politics, the Lok Sabha elections in 2024 have undoubtedly set the stage for a new era. Whether this marks a temporary blip or a longer-term shift remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: the political dominance of Narendra Modi and the BJP faces its most serious challenge yet.

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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 BJP narendra modi mumbai news India General Elections 2024
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