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India: 642 million voters cast their ballot, Modi's victory expected

In total, 642 million Indians took part in the general elections which have just ended after six weeks of voting, according to the commission & Electoral elections, the results of which expected on Tuesday should confirm the victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mr. Modi, champion of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who is seeking a third term, was declared the winner by political analysts well before the start of the elections on April 19.

This perspective has been reinforced by several criminal investigations targeting his main opponents. Like Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi, one of the leaders of the opposition alliance, placed in detention in March, then released on bail last month, the time for him to campaign. He returned to jail on Sunday.

But Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, hailing the logistical complexity of India's elections on Monday, said “the voter was the real winner”.

India: 642 million voters cast their ballot, Modi's victory expected

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar during a press conference in New Delhi on June 3, 2024 in India © AFP – Money SHARMA

“We have broken a world record with 642 million Indian voters, it is a historic moment for all of us,” said Mr. Kumar, specifying that 312 million were female voters, or almost half.

“This shows the incredible power of Indian voters,” he continued, extolling “the incredible power of Indian democracy.”

Based on the 968 million voters recorded by the commission, 66.3% of voters took part in the vote, a slight decrease compared to 67, 4% participation in the 2019 general elections.

– “the ballot rather than the bullet” –

Final data on voter turnout will only be released after a re-vote on Monday in two West Bengal state offices.

India: 642 million voters cast their ballot, Modi's victory expected

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

According to Kumar, “642 million voters chose action over apathy, belief over cynicism and, in some cases, the ballot over the bullet.”

“No major incidents of violence” have been reported according to the electoral commission, he added.

The seventh and final phase of these general elections ended on Saturday after six weeks of voting.

Electronic counting will begin Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. (02:30 GMT) in electoral centers in each state. The results are expected in the following hours.

“We have established a robust counting process”, said Mr. Kumar.

According to exit polls, Narendra Modi is on track to win a third term as head of government.

The Prime Minister said he was certain that “the people of India voted in record numbers” to re-elect him.

– Deaths from sunstroke –

Mr. Modi, 73, is still very popular after two terms, during which India increased its diplomatic influence and economic weight.

A Pew survey found in 2023 that Mr. Modi was viewed favorably by nearly 80% of Indians after nearly a decade in power.

India: 642 million voters cast their ballot, Modi's victory expected

Voters wait to cast their votes during the final phase of the general elections on June 1, 2024 in Patna, India © AFP – Sachin KUMAR

Narendra Modi gave his party two landslide victories in 2014 and 2019 by playing on the religious fiber of the Hindu electorate.

If the BJP's victory on Tuesday does little doubt, speculation focuses on its extent. Party leaders have publicly assured that they will win a two-thirds majority in the lower house.

The drop in turnout has been blamed by some on warmer than average temperatures earlier this summer.

< p>To vote, tens of millions of voters had to face oppressive temperatures sometimes exceeding 45°C in northern India hit by a succession of intense heat waves.

At least 33 poll workers died of sunstroke on Saturday in Uttar Pradesh, where temperatures soared to 46.9°C, according to state election officials.

“We learned from this election that the voting should end earlier” in the year, Mr. Kumar underlined. “We should not have organized it in such heat.”

In total, 15 million electoral agents were mobilized, including some from multiple sectors of the civil service and temporarily assigned to polling stations.

They travel on foot, by road, by train, by helicopter, by boat and sometimes on camel or elephant to the most remote areas so that voters can exercise their right to vote.

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