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India will announce election results – any surprises?

Polls show a huge win for Narendra Modi’s BJP, after a 44-day election process.

- June 3, 2024
India's general election results will be released this week.
Women in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh show their ink-marked fingers after voting in the fifth phase of India’s 44-day election, on May 20, 2024 (cc) InOldNews, via Flickr.

On the morning of June 4, India will begin counting the votes that have been cast since April 19. India’s 44-day multiphase election will determine the next national government.

India uses electronic voting machines so counting the hundreds of millions of votes should proceed quickly. Election officials expect to complete the vote tally by late June 4 or early on June 5.  

Any surprises likely? 

The party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is almost certain to emerge victorious. After the final polls closed on June 1, media organizations and polling companies released their exit polls. These polls are unanimous: Expect a large win by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. Unless there is an historic miss by the polling firms, the only uncertainty involves the size of Modi’s margin of victory – rather than the victory itself.

Modi had announced a goal of securing 400 seats in India’s 543-seat lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha. His BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) only needs 272 seats to retain its majority in the new legislature. Most exit polls predict a comfortable majority for Modi’s coalition with more than a dozen smaller parties. But these polls suggest the NDA will fall short of the 362-seat supermajority needed for most constitutional amendments.

Only one Indian government, elected in 1984, has secured more than 400 seats, making Modi’s goal all the more audacious.

Modi’s political hold

If Modi returns as anticipated as prime minister, he will become the first Indian prime minister to serve more than ten years continuously since Indira Gandhi did so from 1966 to 1977. If Modi, who is 73, were to serve the entirety of this new government’s constitutionally permitted five-year term, he would become the longest-serving prime minister since India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who was in office from India’s independence  in1947. Nehru died in office in 1964 at the age of 74.  

While the big story is likely to be the scale of Modi’s victory, his successor may soon become a topic of interest. It’s likely that sometime during this coming parliamentary term media and public interest will shift to the question of who will succeed Modi, and lead the Bharatiya Janata Party juggernaut. The BJP currently has no obvious successor waiting in the wings, which will make the media speculation even more intense. For now, this will be Modi and the BJP’s week to celebrate.