2024 Lok Sabha Elections: BJP likely to Form Government Amidst Tough Coalition Dynamics and Strong Opposition

2024 Lok Sabha Elections: BJP likely to Form Government Amidst Tough Coalition Dynamics and Strong Opposition

New Delhi - 2024 Lok Sabha elections ushered in the return of coalition politics, with the ruling BJP falling short of a majority but managing to form a government with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed BJP workers at party headquarters in New Delhi, asserting that the NDA was poised to form the government for the third consecutive term. He emphasized that the election results signified a mandate for his party, saying, "People have expressed their complete trust in BJP and the NDA... I would like the influencers and opinion makers to note that since 1962 this is the first time that a government has come to power for the third consecutive term."

Initially perceived to be a one-sided affair, the elections turned into a 'kaante ki takkar' (a tough fight) as the INDIA bloc, led by the Congress, gave a formidable challenge to the NDA. Despite this, trends showed the BJP-led alliance surpassing the majority mark of 272 seats. The BJP encountered significant setbacks in Uttar Pradesh, which severely impacted its ability to achieve a majority on its own. The party's national tally fell by 62 seats from 303 in 2019 to 241, with a loss of 29 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Modi’s victory margin in Varanasi decreased by over 300,000 votes, and the BJP’s seat count in the state dropped to 33 (36 for NDA) from 62 (64 for NDA). Additionally, the BJP faced losses in Rajasthan and Haryana, and the Ayodhya Ram temple issue did not resonate as expected, leading to the defeat of the party candidate in Faizabad. The BJP also lost seats in areas around Varanasi, including Ghazipur, Ghosi, Jaunpur, Machlishahar, Chandauli, Ballia, Azamgarh, and Robertsganj, with diminished support among backward castes and Dalits. The Samajwadi Party outperformed the BJP in UP with 37 seats, while Congress increased its tally from one to six seats.

Despite these setbacks, the BJP made notable gains elsewhere, driven by strong performances in southern and eastern states. In Odisha, the party won 19 of the 21 seats, a significant increase from eight in 2019. The BJP doubled its tally in Telangana from four seats in 2019. Additionally, the BJP made its first-ever win in Kerala by capturing the Thrissur seat. However, the BJP's performance in West Bengal declined, with its tally falling from 18 seats in 2019 to 12. In Rajasthan, the BJP, which had won all 25 seats in 2019, lost 11 seats.

The anti-BJP sentiment in key states also led to the defeat of several prominent ministers, including Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, Power Minister RK Singh, MoS for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Heavy Industries Minister Mahendra Pandey, and MoS for Health Bharati Pawar.

The immediate challenge for the BJP will be to keep the NDA intact as the opposition bloc INDIA continues to aim for a majority in the Lok Sabha. Both Naidu and Kumar, known for their political flexibility, are expected to negotiate hard as the government formation process begins. Senior BJP leaders are already in discussions with NDA allies, aiming to stake a claim as soon as the Election Commission finalizes the results on Wednesday. The Rashtrapati Bhawan has announced its closure from June 5 to June 9 for preparations for the swearing-in ceremony.

This shift in the NDA's dynamics is likely to influence the government's agenda significantly. A Common Minimum Programme is expected to reemerge in political discussions, potentially compelling the BJP to set aside core issues like the nationwide Uniform Civil Code. Conversely, Kumar is likely to push for a Caste Census, a demand supported by Congress and other INDIA parties to base reservations on the numerical strength of backward populations.

If the NDA forms the government, it will face a stronger and more assertive opposition in Parliament, necessitating more cross-party collaboration to pass legislation.

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