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Elections in India: Modi on course to win a third term as Prime Minister

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the process of being reappointed. at the head of the country for a third consecutive term, Saturday's end of six weeks of general elections in which his Hindu nationalist party is given the chance to win. big winner.

The results of the vote, the largest in history with 968 million voters, are expected on Tuesday but an exit poll on Saturday augurs another large victory for the 73-year-old leader.

According to the CNN-News18 survey, his BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) party and its allies are expected to win at least 355 seats in the lower house of Parliament, well beyond the majority set at 272. In the past, these projections have not have not always been reliable.

A big favorite in the poll, Mr. Modi has already given his party two landslide victories in 2014 and 2019, largely thanks to his appeal to the Hindu electorate, and himself said he was very optimistic about the outcome of the election.

“I can say with confidence that the people of India voted in record numbers to re-elect the government,” he assured Saturday on X.

Voters, he added, “saw our record and how our work has changed the lives of the poor, the marginalized and the disenfranchised.”

In the middle of the electoral process, the opposition accused him of stigmatizing Muslims and fueling interreligious tensions, without apparently succeeding in reversing the balance of power.< /p>

The vote, which began six weeks ago, ended on Saturday with the closing of polling stations in the sacred city of Varanasi, the stronghold of Hinduism and Mr. Modi.

Also called Benares, this city in the north of the country, where Hindus come to cremate their dead on the banks of the Ganges, is one of the last where Indians voted, following a long electoral process carried out in grueling heat.

– “Feeling of pride” –

The temperature had reached 45°C during the day, a temperature already exceeded in many cities in recent days and which would explain a lower participation rate compared to 2019.

In the state of Bihar (east) ten agents Election workers died Thursday while setting up polling stations.

Varanasi is the city where support is most strongly expressed for the policy of strengthening ties between Hinduism and power, led by Mr. Modi since his accession to power.

Elections in India: Modi on course to win a third term as Prime Minister

Voters wait to cast their votes during the final phase of the general elections on June 1, 2024 in Varanasi, India © AFP – Niharika KULKARNI

“There is a sense of pride in everything he does, and that's why people are voting for him,” Vijayendra Kumar Singh, who works in one of the hotels in this popular pilgrimage site.

This year, he grandly inaugurated a large temple dedicated to the deity Rama, in Ayodhya, on a site previously occupied by a centuries-old mosque which was razed by Hindu fanatics in 1992.

This inauguration, along with many other signals in favor of India's majority religion, stoked concerns among the minority Muslim, with more than 200 million people.

Elections in India: Modi on course to win a third term as Prime Minister

Image taken from a video from the Narendra Modi Youtube channel broadcast on January 22, 2024 via AFPTV of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the temple dedicated to the divinity Rama, in Ayodhya, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh © NARENDRA MODI YOUTUBE CHANNEL – –

Narendra Modi himself made controversial remarks towards Muslims during his campaign, calling them “infiltrators”. He also accused the opposition coalition, formed by two dozen parties from various sides, of wanting to redistribute India's wealth to Muslims.

Janesar Akhtar, Muslim clothing manufacturer from Varanasi, believes that the BJP's nationalist campaign aims to divert attention from the unemployment problems in the country.

“The workshops are closing here and the Modi government is busy with the politics of temples and mosques,” the 44-year-old man told AFP.

– Ally against China –

Analysts have long been counting on a victory for Mr. Modi against a opposition alliance which has not nominated a candidate for the post of Prime Minister.

According to political analyst Ramu Manivannan, the exit polls point to a new victory for the Prime Minister but its extent still remains uncertain.

“Small errors (on the projections) can make big differences” on the result, he told AFP.

Elections in India: Modi on course to win a third term as Prime Minister

A polling station during the final phase of the general elections on June 1, 2024 in Jalandhar, India © AFP – Shammi MEHRA

Western democracies have largely turned a blind eye to threats to rights and freedoms in the country, in order to preserve a valuable ally against China.

< p>Narendra Modi's image has also been reinforced in his country by the growing influence of India, which will become the fifth largest economy in the world in 2022.

“As an Indian, I feel that he brought a lot of respect and prestige to India,” Shikha Aggarwal, a 40-year-old voter, told AFP.

Indians voted in seven phases over six weeks to facilitate operations in the world's most populous country.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116