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Highest vote share, PM Modi’s historic third term: 2 reasons for BJP to cheer despite ‘setback’

New Delhi, June 4 : The Lok Sabha election results, unlike the Exit Polls that gave 350 plus seats to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), dealt a strong blow to the party’s dreams of winning ‘370 seats’ on its own and the ‘400 paar’ target for the NDA on Saturday.

The Lok Sabha election results announced on Saturday sprang a surprise even for the pollsters, as most of them predicted a one-sided outcome in favour of the BJP-led NDA.

Till the last reports came in, the INDIA bloc was leading on around 230 seats, while the NDA was ahead of the majority mark with leads on over 290 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

Though the BJP looks well positioned to form the government at the Centre, the electoral ‘setback’ prompted a multitude of reactions from the Opposition parties, which called it a rejection of the Modi government by the electorate.

They also claimed that the Congress-led INDIA bloc has thrown a spanner in the BJP’s gameplans and thwarted its dream run.

Even if one sees the results as a setback, there are two clear reasons for the BJP to cheer. The first is BJP’s ‘highest’ vote percentage in all three terms since 2014, and the second is PM Modi readying to become the only Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru to get a record third straight term in office.

The biggest takeaways from the elections are BJP’s return to power for a record third straight term, the party managing to keep its vote share intact at around 37 per cent, and a resurgent Opposition under the INDIA bloc banner making a valiant comeback.

The Congress put up a strong fight against the BJP’s electoral might to double its tally as compared to 2019, fetching close to 100 seats on its own.

Together with the allies, the INDIA bloc is placed comfortably with around 230 seats, just 40-45 seats short of the magical mark of 272.

The BJP, on the other hand, looks like the ‘biggest loser’ because of its lowest number of seats in all three terms since 2014. Together with its allies like the JD(U) and TDP, the NDA alliance is best suited to get around 290-95 seats, still falling short by at least 100 seats as against its ‘400 paar’ target.

This also prompted pointed jabs from the INDIA bloc, with Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge dubbing NDA’s performance as a ‘political and ethical’ setback for PM Modi, as the “elections were fought in his name only”.

The party which once looked ‘overwhelming and overpowering’ for its rivals is now being viewed as vulnerable, apparently because of coalition compulsions.

However, by breaking down the numbers, one gets to know that it is not as disappointing or discouraging as it sounds.

The BJP’s vote share in the 2014 general elections stood at 31 per cent, which rose to 37.36 per cent in 2019. In the latest elections, the BJP is projected to record a similar polling percentage at 36.66 per cent (as per EC figures). Number-wise, the party bagged 282 seats in 2014, 303 seats in 2019, and is slated to get around 240 seats this time.

While the party may be losing out on at least 60 seats this time as compared to 2019, the polling percentage clearly shows that it is in the driver’s seat.

While the polling percentage doesn’t translate into mammoth numbers, the BJP-led NDA is still comfortably placed to form the next government for a third consecutive term.

Moroever, PM Modi is set to create history by becoming only the second Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru to become the PM for a third successive term.

Jawaharlal Nehru was elected as the Prime Minister three times in a row — in 1952, 1957, and 1962.

Now PM Modi equalling that record will mark a new high for the BJP and set new benchmarks for the country’s political class.

On the other hand, Congress’ jubilation over its ‘best performance in years’ is seen by many as overstated and overhyped. While it is seen poised to win about 100 seats, it is still far short of its own showing in the pre-2014 era.

In fact, the party hasn’t breached the 225 mark in past 20 years.

When the Congress dislodged the BJP government in 2004, it fetched only 145 seats, while in 2009, it bagged 206 seats.

Its vote share stood at 26.53 per cent and 28.55 per cent in 2004 and 2009, respectively. In 2024, the party ranks much lower than its own vote percentage of 2004 and 2009.

As per EC data, the party is fetching close to 21-22 per cent vote share, much lower than its own standards of the pre-2014 era.

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