India Elections: Modi Ahead but Markets Plunge as Landslide Forecasts Fade

Tue Jun 04 2024
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NEW DELHI: Shares in Mumbai sank over seven percent on Tuesday afternoon as vote counting appeared to show Narendra Modi’s BJP would not win as big a majority as first thought in elections. According to AFP, the Sensex tumbled 7.22 percent, having rallied over three percent on Monday when exit polls claimed he was on course for a landslide. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alliance raced to a majority in early vote counting trends in the general elections on Tuesday, but the numbers were well short of the win predicted in exit polls, local media reported.

The early trends unnerved markets with stocks falling abruptly. AFP and Reuters also reported that the currency also fell against the dollar. Western media reported that at 4:30am GMT, TV channels claimed that the NDA was ahead in 300 of the 543 elective seats in parliament, a simple majority, in early counting. The opposition INDIA alliance led by Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party was leading in more than 200 seats, higher than predicted. Political analyst Asim Ali said that it will be a long-term disaster if the BJP repeats 2019 results. He questioned, whether or not democracy will survive in India?

Similarly, US think tank Freedom House stated this year that the BJP had “increasingly used government institutions to attack political rivals”.  On Sunday, Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of New Delhi and a key political leader in an alliance formed to compete against Narendra Modi, returned to jail.

Modi’s Return to Power Poses Threat to Secular Principles in India: Washington Post

Kejriwal was arrested in March over a long-running corruption investigation, but was later released and permitted to campaign as long as he returned to jail once voting ended. He said that when power becomes dictatorship, then jail becomes a responsibility. He said that he would “fight” from behind bars.

In the lead-up to the election, more than 200 million Muslim minority grew increasingly uneasy regarding their futures and their community’s place in the so-called secular country.

Modi himself made a number of strident remarks about Muslims on the campaign trail, referring to them as “infiltrators”.

Western media especially US press including The Washington Post, have raised concerns over the potential implications of Hindi extremist leader Narendra Modi returning to power. According to The Washington Post, Narendra Modi’s party’s return to power could jeopardize the secular democracy of India, as the BJP is seen to be advancing a Hindu nationalist agenda.

In its article, the Washington Post writes that secular voices within India are concerned regarding the BJP’s return to power. There are apprehensions that BJP might steer the nation towards autocracy, where Muslims and other minorities could face marginalization.

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The newspaper highlighted the BJP’s electoral strategy, which is often rooted in Hindutva ideology. This includes steps such as the construction of a temple at the site of a demolished mosque, the removal of Kashmir’s autonomous special status, and the implementation of citizenship laws perceived as discriminatory against Muslims and other minority groups.

Opposition political parties also raised concerns about the authenticity of the elections and the reliability of EVMs machines. They blamed ECP and BJP for alleged manipulation of the election data.

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