Analysis: India Returns To Coalition Government As Modi’s BJP Fails To Secure Decisive Majority


Key takeaways


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the largest party by far in the lower house of parliament with 240 seats. However, the BJP lost over 60 seats and was unable to cross the 272-seat threshold needed to secure a single-party parliamentary majority that defined its last decade in power. Meanwhile, the Indian National Congress (Congress) fronted by Rahul Gandhi won 99 seats, a 47-seat increase.
  • The BJP is now dependent on alliance partners to form a coalition government, an unprecedented challenge to Modi’s highly centralized approach. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), comprised of the BJP and its allies, won a combined majority of 293 out of 543 seats in the Indian parliament’s lower house, the Lok Sabha. The rival INDIA bloc, led by Congress, won 234 seats.
  • Despite Modi’s popularity, the election has delivered a blow to his mandate. Any coalition government will likely encounter issues in adopting historically contentious reforms related to land, labor, and tariffs on unfinished imports.
  • A BJP-led NDA coalition with two large partners and several small ones should offer reasonably sound prospects for continued growth and economic policy continuity. On the other hand, the fate of the BJP’s social agenda has become more precarious. Concerted efforts to enact a uniform civil code, revise historical narratives, and impose cultural uniformity may need to be tempered.
  • An NDA coalition government is likely to maintain the steep upward trajectory of U.S.-India relations, deepening cooperation on defense and critical and emerging technologies, despite differences over trade. Tensions between India and China fueled by an unresolved border standoff, India’s deepening U.S. ties, and increased economic competition will linger.

Read the full analysis here.

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DGA-ASG Analysis - India Returns to Coalition Government as Modi's BJP Fails to Secure Decisive Majority.pdf