BJP Wins Election But Loses Popular Mandate

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BJP Wins Election But Loses Popular Mandate

| Updated: June 7, 2024 13:15

In the aftermath of the 2024 elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has emerged as the largest single party in the Lok Sabha, yet it falls short of the 272 seats required to form a government on its own. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a pre-electoral coalition, has secured 292 seats, comfortably above the majority mark. This has led the President to invite the leader of the BJP parliamentary party to form the government, a decision that is constitutionally and legally sound.

However, the political logic of the mandate paints a different picture. The key question is whether the 60 crore plus voters have endorsed Narendra Modi’s claim to lead a BJP government for the third term. The BJP’s performance in this election compared to its performance in 2014 and 2019, its own claims and widespread expectations and the overall political context all come into play.

The BJP’s claim to a mandate is unclear. While the party has gained votes and seats in the south-eastern coastal belt from Kerala to Odisha, it has suffered a significant loss of votes and seats in the rest of the country. Compared to the last elections, the BJP has lost 63 seats and has fallen 32 short of the majority mark. This is no ringing endorsement of the BJP or the NDA.

The BJP’s own claim of “400 paar” was a centerpiece of its campaign, echoed by newspaper headlines, TV anchors and opinion polls. Despite this, the NDA failed to cross 300. It is fair to say that the BJP did not get the mandate it asked for and expected.

The 2024 election was far from a normal electoral contest. The ruling party enjoyed an infinite advantage over the Opposition in terms of money, media and administrative machinery. The Election Commission was blatantly partisan. Yet, the people inflicted severe reversals on the ruling establishment. This is reminiscent of the popular mandate against the Congress in 1977.

This election was about The Supreme Leader seeking post-facto public approval for the dismantling of the republic and popular endorsement for the proposed mutilation of India’s constitutional democracy. The Indian public refused to give him that authorisation. If the contest had been a shade fairer, he would have been sitting in the opposition. Eventually, he has managed to reclaim the chair he so desperately needed but the public has denied him the moral authority, prestige and legitimacy that he so craved. This is a clear indication that while the BJP has the numbers in Parliament, it does not have the popular mandate that it sought to secure.

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