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Results 2024 | Far From '400 Paar', BJP Falls Short of Solo Majority: 6 Lessons

Narendra Modi-led BJP might be looking at a historic third term in office, albeit with several lessons.

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As results for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections poured in on Tuesday, 4 June, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), contrary to their initial campaign slogan of '400 paar', struggled to cross the halfway mark of 272 seats. Till late evening, the party managed to get a comfortable lead in approximately 240 constituencies.

Even though the saffron party's tally of seats was down by around 60 seats as compared to their 2019 performance, their vote share saw a marginal increase from 37.36 percent in 2019 to 36.88 percent in 2024.

With the NDA's seat tally reaching 290, the BJP might be looking at a historic third term in office, albeit with several lessons.

Read along for key takeaways on the BJP's victory:

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Is There a 'Modi Fatigue'?

The saffron party mounted a campaign for their third term in office on the back of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Considered as the party's biggest crowd-puller, Modi addressed at least 200 rallies and half a dozen television interviews in the run up to the polls.

One of the party's most popular slogans this election also was 'Modi ki guarantee'. That the party has emerged as the single largest party, even though it couldn't cross the halfway mark, shows that people still have faith in Modi's ability to lead the country.

However, a sharp Opposition campaign focused on issues such as unemployment, corruption, and jobs ensured that individual MPs and their performance was scrutinised by the voters.

This also means that going forward, party's ticket distribution will rely heavily on report cards of individual MPs and local caste and class equations.

The Hindutva Pitch

The BJP's positioning of itself as a pro-Hindutva party might not have resulted in the consolidation of the Hindu vote like it expected. The opposition tried to counter this with a pitch for caste census, and 'samvidhan bachao' campaign aimed to mobilise the Dalit and Tribal voters. The India Today-Axis My India exit poll survey showed a considerable rise in Dalit vote in favour of the INDIA bloc.

Further, the BJP losing the Faizabad seat despite the grand inauguration of the Ram Temple seems to indicate that temple politics and Prime Minister's shrill communal tone in Modi's speeches after the second phase of polling, did not work in favour of the party.

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Welfare Schemes

Since coming to power in 2014, the BJP under Modi has extensively invested in welfare schemes targeting the poor and women in particular. Especially popular are the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.

Other such schemes include promises such as providing cooking gas, free grain, houses, toilets, piped water, electricity, and bank accounts.

These schemes still remain big vote pullers.

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The UP Shocker

One reason behind BJP not being able to cross the halfway mark on its own, unlike the previous two terms, is the party's performance in Uttar Pradesh.

Out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats, BJP won 32, as opposed the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance which won 44 seats. In 2019, the BJP alone won 62 seats in UP.

Speaking to The Quint, Supreme Court Advocate and BJP leader, Nalin Kohli, said that the party need to go back to the drawing board and reflect on its performance in Uttar Pradesh among other things. "It's Uttar Pradesh which was responsible for bringing a majority in two successive elections of 2014 and 2019. It's that difference of those 30 seats now which has cost us the majority position on our own," he said.

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Organisational Advantage

The BJP is a cadre-based party with support from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other allied outfits which help mobilise people in their support.

In addition to this, the party is also way ahead of others terms of political funding. According to the annual audited reports of the six ‘national parties’ for 2022–23, the BJP's total declared income accounted for 76.73 per cent of the total income of Rs 3,076.88 crore received by these parties.

The party also reached out to former NDA allies such as JD(U)'s Nitish Kumar and Telugu Desam Party's Chandrababu Naidu. With JD(U) leading in 12 and TDP leading in 16 seats, the two alliance partners are crucial to NDA crossing the halfway mark.
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Outreach Outside Core Constituencies

One of the big factors behind BJP being in a position to be able to return for a third term in office with a marginal increase in vote share is their outreach in states outside their core constituencies.

For instance, they doubled their seats in Telangana from four in 2019 to eight in 2024. They also won a seat in Kerala for the first time.

This, however, worked only in select states like Telangana, Kerala, and Odisha. In other states such as West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab the party failed to make inroads.

Further, the party suffered massive loses in states such as Haryana, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra where it had previously performed well. While Punjab and Haryana were epicentres of the farmers' protests against Modi government's farm laws introduced in 2020, Maharashtra saw massive political turmoil with two of its strong strong regional parties, NCP and Shiv Sena, splitting, and one faction of each party joining the BJP.

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