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Elections in India |  With the support of the coalition agreement, Modi is preparing for a third term

Elections in India | With the support of the coalition agreement, Modi is preparing for a third term

(New Delhi) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday prepares for a third term after elections much closer than expected, forcing him to conclude a coalition agreement.

His Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which has governed for the past decade with an absolute majority, was expecting another landslide victory. But the results of the six-week poll published on Tuesday showed that the BJP had lost its majority, forcing it to negotiate to form an alliance.

This group of 15 parties, the National Democratic Alliance, announced an agreement at the end of Wednesday to form the government. “We have all unanimously chosen the honorable NDA leader Narendra Modi as our leader,” she said in a statement.

The coalition has 293 seats in Parliament, more than half of the Council's 543 seats.

Indian media reported that Narendra Modi would be sworn in as prime minister for the third time on Saturday.

But his new term should be more difficult, analysts and the media expect, because the prime minister will now have to deal with his partners.

The “minefield of coalition politics” will complicate Narendra Modi's mission, the Hindustan Times warned in an editorial on Thursday. The newspaper adds: “Building consensus must be the basis of governance.”

“A new chapter of development”

On the international scene, congratulatory messages continued.

US President Joe Biden congratulated Narendra Modi on his victory, saying he wanted to work for a “free and open” Asia. He announced on the X program that he sees between the two countries a “shared future with unlimited potential.”

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French President Emmanuel Macron sent his congratulations to his “dear friend” on the same social media network, with a personal photo showing the two leaders, stressing that he wants to continue “strengthening the strategic partnership that unites India and France.”

China, a rival superpower, congratulated the Narendra Modi-led alliance and declared it was “ready to work” with India.

Russia, Japan and the United Kingdom also expressed their congratulations to the Indian Prime Minister, as well as to European Council President Charles Michel and called on him to “deepen the strategic partnership” between the European Union and India.

The 73-year-old leader confirmed that he would continue his program after the elections despite the decline in his majority.

“This third mandate will be one of the key decisions. The country will write a new chapter in its development. “I guarantee it.”

“Playing the Alliance Game”

Analysts and opinion polls expected a landslide victory for Narendra Modi, who is accused of imprisoning opposition leaders and violating the rights of the powerful Muslim community in India, which numbers more than 200 million people.

The BJP won 240 seats in Parliament, 32 short of an absolute majority and far short of the 303 seats it won in 2019.

Contrary to all expectations, the Congress Party, the main opposition party, won 99 seats, almost double its results in 2019 (52 seats).

“Teachers today are not as strong as they used to be,” Christophe Jaffrelot, a professor at King's College London, noted in The Hindu daily on Thursday. “For the first time in his political career, Narendra Modi will have to play the alliance game.”

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Another disappointment for Narendra Modi was his re-election in his home constituency of Varanasi, the Hindu capital of India, by a much smaller margin.

“The elections demonstrated a desire to defend constitutional values ​​and the dignity of citizens,” Ashutosh Varshney, a professor of political science at Brown University, told the Indian Express daily on Thursday.

Mr. Varshney believes Mr. Modi's decline is linked to “rising tensions and polarization within society, citizens' concerns about their rights and a significant increase in inequality.”