Chairman and Chief Editor
Bedour Ibrahim

The ruling party’s track record resonated with voters

Initial India Exit Polls Show Modi’s Party Set for Majority Win

Saturday 01/June/2024 - 09:37 PM
أصول مصر

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party is set to win a decisive majority in India’s election for the third time in a row، several exit polls showed، extending his decade in power atop the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

The polls showed his Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance will win substantially more seats than the 272 needed for a majority in India’s 543-seat lower house of parliament. Official election results will be released June 4.

Modi claimed victory for the BJP-led alliance based on the exit poll results، saying the ruling party’s track record resonated with voters، especially the poor.

Reelection of Modi

“I can say with confidence that the people of India have voted in record numbers to reelect the NDA government،” he said in a post on social media platform X. He also criticized the opposition alliance’s campaign for failing to provide a vision for the country.

The results are likely to boost Indian financial markets، which had been volatile in recent weeks amid speculation the BJP and its allies would fail to meet Modi’s ambitious goal of winning 400 seats.

V K Vijayakumar، chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services، predicted a market rally on Monday، saying the exit polls removes some of the election jitters that had been weighing on sentiment in May.

“This comes as a shot in the arm for the bulls who will trigger a big rally in the market on Monday،” he said. Investors will likely also be buoyed by data Friday showing the economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace of 8.2% in the fiscal year ended in March.

While exit polls have a mixed track record in Indian elections، they correctly predicted the broad outlines of the result from the 2019 and 2014 general elections.

The polls were released after the last of India’s nearly 1 billion registered voters finished casting their ballots in a grueling six-week-long election that was spread over seven voting phases. It started on April 19.

The BJP’s strategy of centering its campaign around the hugely-popular Modi appears to have paid off if the exit polls are accurate. The party’s star campaigner، Modi criss-crossed the country holding roadshows and addressing large crowds. The party even titled its manifesto ‘Modi’s Guarantee.’

A win for Modi would be historic: no prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru — who ruled India for 17 years after independence — has managed to secure three consecutive terms in power.

The exit polls showed the BJP made gains in southern India، where Modi campaigned heavily to woo voters traditionally skeptical of the ruling party’s Hindu nationalist policies. The polls also showed the BJP retained much of its monopoly in the northern Hindi-speaking states.

Shashi Tharoor، a Congress official، called the exit polls “deeply unscientific” and said the party would wait for officials results on Tuesday.

Additional trouble

The win also signals additional trouble for the country’s opposition، especially the Indian National Congress، the largest party in the opposition alliance. Failure to dent the BJP’s mandate for a third straight national election may fuel concerns the Congress party needs an ideological revamp or a change in leadership.  

A bigger win for the ruling party positions it to potentially push through decisive new policy measures and further elevate Modi’s global stature. It would allow the BJP to make good on major campaign promises like increased infrastructure spending، investing in domestic manufacturing and the continuation of popular welfare programs. It would also provide it with the political capital to push through contentious reforms on land and labor.

India’s economy grew more than 8% in the fiscal year that ended in March، making it the fastest-expanding major nation in the world. The central bank is predicting 7% growth in the current financial year، far outpacing global expansion of about 3% in 2024. S&P Global Ratings this week signaled a possible credit rating upgrade for India، giving a boost to financial markets just ahead of the country’s inclusion in JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s emerging market bond index later in June.

“If the results come in line with exit polls، it should be highly positive for markets as it would suggest policy continuity and sustained focus on macroeconomic stability، reforms، infrastructure creation and fiscal prudence،” said Garima Kapoor، an economist at Elara Securities India Ltd.