A Survey of Global Media’s Perspective on Indian Elections
Afghanistan

The media in Afghanistan has covered Indian elections from the beginning. The Kabul based TOLO News wrote a story on 11 April 2019 tilted “India’s giant elections get underway”. The story talks about how Prime Minister Narendra Modi has campaigned strongly on his national security record especially after the tensions flare up with Pakistan. The article further talks about the violence during elections in Jammu and Kashmir and the Eastern States and how it led to increase in security arrangements. It highlighted how Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) was the frontrunner in elections despite rising economic distress, increasing unemployment, and weak farm incomes in rural areas. The article argues that upsurge in nationalist fervor especially post-Balakot strike has helped BJP and undermined the strategies of the opposition parties.1

In another article which appeared on TOLO News on 20 May 2019, it is mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was set to return to power even with a bigger majority as predicted by exit polls. The article highlighted the close fight which the opposition parties were giving to the ruling government over economic issues and rising unemployment in the country till the tensions erupted with Pakistan over Pulwama attack. It is argued that Prime Minister Modi “rallied his Hindu nationalist base and turned the campaign into a fight for national security after tensions rose with Pakistan and attacked his main rival for being soft on the country’s arch foe.”2 The article further talks about the rising fear among certain groups especially the minorities that a huge win for Mr. Modi might embolden the far-right Hindu groups to pursue their partisan agenda and create a backlash against the minorities especially Muslims.

In another article on 23 May 2019, the TOLO News covers the counting of votes. The article mentions that the BJP is expected to surpass 272 seats in the Lok Sabha elections as shown by various polls as well as the enthusiasm shown by the stock market. The article mentions how the campaign shifted in favor of BJP after the Balakot strike. It also argues that BJP has benefitted from superior financial resources and the star power of Prime Minister Modi. It also mentions how opposition parties are blaming the tampering of EVM machines for a possible loss of elections.3

In the final article on 23 May 2019, the TOLO News reports that President Ghani congratulated Prime Minister Modi for his win in Lok Sabha elections. President Ghani has tweeted, “Congratulations to PM Narendra Modi on a strong mandate from the people of India. The government and the people of Afghanistan look forward to expanding cooperation between our two democracies in pursuit of regional cooperation, peace and prosperity for all of South Asia.” 4 The article also mentions the tweets by Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah after the huge victory in Parliamentary elections.

Pakistan

According to Najam Sethi (24 News Channel), Balakot airstrikes gave Modi much needed support to win the elections. National Security and Pakistan were key election issues. This was the first times these two issues were solely exploited to win the election. He expressed faith in Modi’s support in peace dialogue admitting that Modi did walk the talk with Nawaz Sharif but media cornered Nawaz Sharif and he was accused of compromising on Kashmir. Modi feels that Pakistan will talk peace due to its failing economy and strong pressure to solve the Afghan crisis5.

Reflecting government’s view, Firdaus Awan (Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Information and Broadcasting) stated in a news discussion that peace was a priority. Peace cannot come until India and Pakistan sit together. Dialogue is the only solution but India does not want to engage in a composite dialogue, which Pakistan wants to be resumed. Pakistan accepts India’s mandate and hopes that this leads to betterment of ties, she said.

Mushahid Hussain, a senator from PML-N, expressed hope that some issues will be addressed if a dialogue was to start. According to him, Modi’s Pakistan policy has failed. America depends more on Pakistan now, so they will pressurize India to engage with Islamabad. Pakistan has the geostrategic card to play given its deepening ties with regional powers like China and Iran.

Senior Journalist Rauf Klasra (News 92 discussion) was hopeful that it was not entirely true that Modi will be tough on minorities, as these issues would be limited to electoral rhetoric. Four years of on and off dialogue and airstrikes in 2019 only show that Modi is pragmatic. As per him, Modi needs investments and would not need riots. Corporate model of growth would discourage societal problems.

In a discussion at GNN news channel, Moeed Yusuf (senior researcher at United States Institute of Peace) said that Modi’s campaign post-Pulwama attack was based on anti-Pakistan theme6. India realizes that it has to engage with Pakistan at some point. Talks between Sushma Swaraj and Qureshi on the sidelines of SCO summit shows India is willing to engage. Talks cannot be ruled out but India’s strategic posture is expected to continue.

Veteran Journalist Saleem Safi said in a Geo News discussion that Hindu nationalist governments are more open for dialogue with Pakistan. Congress has caused more damage to Pakistan as seen by the 1971 war. On the other hand, Vajpayee visited Minar-e-Pakistan and PM Modi visited Pakistan to meet Nawaz Sharif. Right wing dispensations can be extremely good for the negotiators.

In his interview with ARY News, Former Foreign Minister Khursheed Mohammd Kasuri stated Modi’s victory was not a threat to Pakistan7. This is because India would not engage in a military engagement with Pakistan in recent years and even if it did that in Balakot, Pakistan has responded strongly. Even in the regional setup, Russia and China would strongly want both sides to talk to each other.

In the print media, most editorials were more of less skeptical of the elections. Of these, the editorial at Jang News highlighted that Modi’s election represented the rise of right wing and corporate class. Modi has infused the Indian populace with extremist ideas which are not good for India’s stability, the editorial highlighted.

Australian Media

Australia looks at India’s elections results of India as triumph of nationalism. After the Australian elections another major elections that caught attention of Australian media was the General Elections of India 2019 in which the BJP won a second term with an increased majority of 303 seats. The General Election’s results of India has stunned majority of political commentators across Australia who were expecting a reduced majority or a minority and coalition government. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) termed these results as Modi Wave and called results as the wave of populism. ABC concluded with a tittle photograph ‘Modi wins despite unemployment, tensions with Pakistan’.

The ABC criticized Modi Government for its failure to protect India from disastrous unemployment levels despite a growing economy. While lauding the election and the stability brought in by the present government in discharge of governance, the ABC acclaimed it as the strongest government India has seen since independence in 1947, and that it can claim to be one of the strongest mandates ever bestowed on an Indian prime minister8.

While appreciating the conduct of the General Elections and its conduct, the popular The Sydney Morning Herald acclaimed the grand scale at which the Indian elections are conducted in urban and rural parts of India. While tagging Modi’s first term as humble beginning in economic field, the Sydney Morning Herald considered demonetization as one of the missteps initiated by the Modi Government, and that while economic growth has been healthy, the rate of jobs growth has been lacklustre. While summing up the regional pulse, the Sydney Morning Herald analysed that regional parties such as those led by Banerjee and Mayawati are a growing force in India’s national politics. Many of them appeal to local language groups spread across India’s diverse population. Should regional parties poll well, and the Congress Party claws back a portion of the electoral territory it lost in 2014, that might create the possibility of an anti-BJP coalition government.

While analyzing the General Elections of India, Dr Alex Davis, the New Generation Network Fellow of the Australia India Institute of the Melbourne University endorsed the significance of rising posture of India and advised to the newly elected Australian government to pay close attention towards Indian Elections. Dr Alex analysed that with US President Donald Trump seemingly keen to alienate long-term alliance partners, Australia was seeking to diversify its foreign relations. Amidst the chaos within its traditional allies, the US and the UK, Australian foreign policy circles are talking about India as a key opportunity9.

Prior to the elections of Australia in May 2019, the Australian government commissioned a new economic strategy for India which has been endorsed by both major parties ahead of elections in May, thus recognizing the grown aspirations and position of India at the global level. While supporting the significance of India in Australia’s global outreach, Dr Alex stated a necessity for Australia was to enable an understanding of India’s vibrant and fractious politics that has global importance10. This would only add to India-Australia relations. While identifying certain challenges of India-Australia bilateral relations, he evaluated economic and geopolitical potentials as missing ingredients and underscored the 2019 Indian elections as an opportunity to change and advised Australian Government’s collective attention.

Chinese Perspective

The 17th Lok Sabha elections were closely watched by China. A month in advance, editorials started appearing in the mainstream media. On 10 April 2019, CGTN published an article, “India votes: A short guide to the world’s biggest election”. The article has compared the 2019 elections with that of 2014. It further elaborates on the issues involved in the election and the electoral process. Notably, the article has highlighted that 900 million voters will be voting in the General Elections. It states, “The numbers involved in the election are staggering: 900 million eligible voters, 10 million election officials, 1.1 million electronic voting machines plus extensive security measures.” 11 Further, on 11 April 2019, the CGTN published an article, “Voting begins in India's gigantic election spread over 7 phases”, in which the role of Pakistan factor was explained. The article states, “the BJP rose in response to Modi's tough stance against Pakistan, which saw aerial clashes between the nuclear-armed neighbors following a Pakistan-based militant organization's suicide attack in February that killed 40 paramilitary police in Kashmir”. 12

Prior to the elections, Sun Haoran published an optimistic article in the Global Times/ titled, “China-India ties to stay healthy”. The article reinstated that despite the government that comes to power the bilateral relations will be on ‘good track’ and continue to develop in a ‘healthy way’.13

On 23 May 2019, even before the results of the Indian elections were declared, Xi Jinping sent the congratulatory note Mr. Narendra Modi. In the note, Xi Jinping noted the great importance he attached to the development of India-China relations and the desire to work with Prime Minister Modi to take closer the development partnership between the two countries to a new height. The note was shared by the Ministry of External Affairs of India, “President of People’s Republic of China, H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping sent a letter to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi earlier today congratulating him on the electoral victory of National Democratic Alliance under his leadership. In the letter, President Xi noted the great importance he attached to the development of India-China relations and his desire to work with Prime Minister Modi to take the Closer Development Partnership between the two countries to a new height. President Xi also expressed satisfaction at the strong momentum of development in India-China relations in recent years with the joint efforts of both sides.”

In fact, the China Daily published an article on the same day of the election titled, “Early counting trends show Modi's BJP-led alliance leading India's elections.” Based on the live news updates and the inputs from the Election Commission of India the article elaborated on the voting trends in India. It has also drawn comparisons with the 2014 voting trends.14

On the next day of the declaration of the election results (24 May 2019), almost all the leading newspapers of China carried the news on the front page - Xinhuanet –“Modi-led BJP wins Indian elections: Election Commission” 15; People’s Daily - “Modi-led BJP wins Indian elections: Election Commission”16; and Global Times- “Xi congratulates Indian PM Modi on party's election victory.”17

Additionally, on 24 May 2019, the China Daily published an article, “India's Modi stuns opposition with huge election win”. The article highlights the statements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and quotes the tweet posted by Rahul Gandhi after the results of the elections, "I accept the verdict of the people of India. Congratulations to the winners, Mr Modi and the NDA. Thank you to the people of Wayanad for electing me as your MP. Thank you also to the people of Amethi. Thank you Congress workers and leaders for your hard work in this campaign."18

In China’s eyes, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi the bilateral relations have reached new direction. The first term of Prime Minister Modi has been quite eventful in terms of visits from both sides. However, in 2017, the Doklam Stand-off took place at the tri-Junction of India-Bhutan-China that led to the straining of the bilateral relations. The strong leadership was able to put the relations back on the track by reinstating that “the differences should not become disputes”. Notably, the two leaders are the interlocutors themselves and have been able to establish ‘strong momentum’ in the bilateral relations. Overall, it appears that China looks forward to a healthy and stable relationship with India in the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

West Asian Perspective

The Indian elections have been widely covered in West Asian newspapers and reporting on the reasons and outcome of the elections has been enumerated. The UAE based newspaper, Khaleej Times mentioned that BJP’s campaign centred on national security and nationalism and the mandate for BJP has swept geography, caste lines, age, gender and economic status. It highlighted that BJP’s winning trend was reflected in the Bombay Stock Exchange as Sensex touched 40,000 for the first time and National Stock Exchange touched 12,000. 19 The newspaper, writing on 24 May 2019 mentioned about the defeat of the Congress President Rahul Gandhi from Amethi constituency and the BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra from Puri constituency, and also covered the state election in Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim occurring parallel with the national election.20 In one report by Khaleej Times, sentiments of the Indian expatriate community living in the UAE on the results was highlighted with the diaspora community lauding BJP’s return to power and seeing it as a victory of Prime Minister Modi’s development agenda. 21

The correlation between the election result and the uptick in the Indian stock market was also noted by the Israeli newspaper, The Jerusalem Post. The Israeli daily painted the security angle as the primary reason for BJP’s upsurge and mentioned that the incumbent government’s security rhetoric overshadowed issues of unemployment and farm prices.22 It pointed out Pakistan’s statement that it was willing to open peace talks with India while testing surface to surface ballistic missile, Shaheen II, capable of delivering conventional and nuclear-tipped missiles up to the range of 1,500 miles on 23 May 2019. 23 The newspaper also reported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wishes to the Indian Prime Minister and highlighted the expectations to work together.

According to Al Arabiya newspaper funded by Saudi Arabia and based in Dubai, the re-election of Prime Minister Modi has reinforced a global trend of right-wing populists with a harsh stance on protectionism, immigration and security as it happened in the US, Brazil, Italy. In terms of the incoming challenges, the daily noted that the new government has to address employment, agrarian distress and revive the banking sector, and that it will be difficult for the BJP-led government to maintain unity due to its divisive campaign against India’s Muslim minority population. It maintained that Modi’s campaign shifted in his favour after the government’s assertive posture against Pakistan prior to the election. Modi’s speech in which he stated that “We have to take everyone forward, including our staunchest opponents” was mentioned in the background of his bitter criticism against his opponents during the campaigning season. Moreover, BJP’s financial resource in which they spent six times more than Congress on advertising on Facebook and Google and 20 times overall, was also credited for the victory. BJP’s inroad in West Bengal was also mentioned by Al Arabiya.24

The right-wing assertion and insecurity among the Muslim community were covered by the Qatari News channel, Al Jazeera. Writing on 23 May 2019 it noted that the format of the election campaign was presidential-style with Modi as its mascot and backed by a hardline Hindu agenda. It mentioned that the bigger mandate has caused anxiety and concern among India’s Muslim community that has suffered attacks by Hindu vigilante groups during the government’s last tenure. The channel noted that despite agrarian distress and high rate of unemployment, the incumbent regime succeeded in securing the mandate by flaring up tensions with its neighbour, Pakistan, and emphasizing on national security, foreign policy and Hindu agenda.25

The Iranian newspaper, Iran Daily also pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after BJP’s setback in the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh along with anger over farm prices and unemployment, was under pressure. However, the campaign trend shifted after the Pulwama attack and India’s antagonistic reactions towards Pakistan. The ruling party, according to the Iran Daily, also capitalized from Prime Minister Modi’s star power and superior financial resources. The criticism by opposition parties over EVM tempering was also mentioned. Finally, it talked about the new government’s promises to double farmers’ income and increase infrastructure spending in the upcoming five years.26

News coverage in the West Asian newspapers revolved around the incumbent government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election agenda which centred on nationalism and security and overshadowed issues such as unemployment, agrarian distress and weak state of the economy. Many newspapers highlighted the positive boost provided by India’s air strikes in Balakot, Pakistan, which was conducted in retaliation to the terror attack that occurred in Pulwama on 14 February 2019. The insecurity posed by the ruling party on India’s Muslim minority was also emphasized by Al Aljazeera and Al Arabiya. On the contrary, the coverage of the election was largely positive in Khaleej Times and the Jerusalem Post that covered the implication of the results in the Indian stock market. Khaleej Times also attempted to tap the sentiments of the Indian expatriate community living in the UAE and The Jerusalem Post pointed to Pakistan’s aggressive gesture by launching a missile test on 23 May 2019 while lauding India’s election result.

Russia and CARs Perspectives

On 23 May 2019, the Modi Government was re-elected with a huge majority. International media has responded to this by giving critical and favourable evaluations. Dr. Ania Loomba, a professor of literature at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert in post-colonial studies, in an interview given to the Sputnik news published on 24 May 2019, commented that BJP has been successful in diverting the core issues by disseminating the Hindu nationalistic narrative especially in the Hindi speaking belt. She said that “[the Kashmir conflict] was a major factor, because they [BJP] played it up. And they played it up very cleverly in such a way that distracted from the economic disaster that the Modi government has been in. When Modi came to power the last time, it was on the mandate of development and economic progress, and most commentators have talked about how he has failed to deliver that and how there has been real distress in the countryside, particularly with farmer’s suicide and farmers taking to the streets in protest.”27

Her views on BJP’s election campaign are also critical as she explained, "The [BJP] historically has appealed to traders and middle classes. It never had a strong base among poor people, and now it has managed to turn that by turning to two themes: nationalism, not just of any other but Islamophobic, anti-Christian, and extremely fascistic nationalism; and, selling the idea of a majority population under threat. It seems that this election was run entirely not on the question of economics, not on the question of development, but on the question of nationalism," Dr. Loomba also noted that Modi has run a nationalist campaign in support of the Hindu right-wing movement, advocated by right-wing Hindu nationalist volunteer organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliate organizations, namely the Hindu Sena and Vishva Hindu Parishad.28

Hong Kong based Asia times have also mentioned about Narendra Modi’s historic win in 2019 General Elections. In making an assessment of Modi’s persona as a PM for the last five years, three observations are: he is a man of action and highly sensitive to criticism; he is highly organized and focused; and therefore, as long as institutional checks and balances hold Modi back from his more reckless impulses, India should emerge at the end of the next five years as a stable, relatively peaceful economy with a further 20 years of strong economic growth to look forward to.29

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the victory of his BJP in the parliamentary elections. A congratulatory telegram sent to the Indian leader was reported by the Kremlin press service. Putin expressed confidence that Modi, as the Prime Minister of India, will help strengthen the centuries-old friendship between the Russian and Indian peoples and the development of a “particularly privileged strategic partnership” between Moscow and New Delhi. The head of the Russian state reaffirmed his readiness to continue fruitful personal contacts with the Indian Prime Minister and to work together in the interests of both countries.30

Moscow based Newspaper Kommersant reviewed the Modi’s re-election as beneficial for India’s development: with a second-term mandate, PM Modi will now be able to pursue a more active economic policy and try to increase the country's geopolitical weight.31

In a conversation with a UAE based portal Central Asia News on 24 May 2019, Katharine Adeney, Professor of Politics and Director of the Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham, stated that Modi benefited tremendously from the fallout from a suicide attack in Pulwama in J&K that killed 40 Indian securitymen in February 2019. Although responsibility for the attack was claimed by a Pakistani terrorist group, it was carried out by a local Kashmiri. One reading of this could have been that Modi's policies in the Kashmir Valley, such as the increase in the use of pellet guns blinding hundreds and killing at least 14, had led to the attack. But Modi swiftly turned it to his advantage. Thus the national security narrative took centre stage in the 2019 election, something that the opposition parties were unable to counter. 32

Alexei Kupriyanov of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations, in a press Review told TASS (Russian News Agency), that neither the parliament and nor the cabinet, but Modi’s inner circle determines India’s foreign policy. According to him, their policy is aimed at improving relations with China and ensuring Pakistan’s international isolation to make Islamabad stop supporting terrorists in Kashmir. As for other countries, Modi and the BJP seek to boost relations with all, including the United States and Russia.33

Sputnik news has also written Pakistan’s response on not being invited to Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says Pakistan’s current relationship with India is not conducive at present to facilitate a visit by Prime Minister Imran Khan to New Delhi. He says that although both leaders have spoken over the phone, there exists a "huge trust deficit" between the two countries. He further suggested that the lack of an invite was par for the course, given that Prime Minister-designate Modi had focused his entire campaign during the 2019 General Elections in India on "Pakistan-bashing".34

South East Asian Perspective

The coverage from Singapore focused on the economic challenges before Modi in his second term - these include tackling unemployment, agrarian crisis, low-farm income and farmer suicides - whereas the Indian economy was ‘stuttering’ which Modi has to work upon. Modi’s attention is drawn towards the economy and unemployment, notably amongst women. Modi’s protectionist policies are mentioned in the context of the sentiments of foreign investors. That foreign companies such as Amazon, Walmart and Master Card have heavily invested billions into Indian markets and ramped up hiring. Stating that ‘but from around 2017, critics say, the Hindu nationalist leader took a harder, protectionist line on sectors such as e-commerce and technology, crafting some policies that appeared to aim at whipping up patriotic fervor ahead of elections’, Modi’s win is welcome for the political stability it would bring. But concerns over protectionism remain; Modi is advised to soften his protectionist stance. Red-tapism still remains but there is understanding on the limits Modi had in his previous terms that prevented him from taking critical reforms35 like labour laws and land laws36. The limit was that his government did not enjoy majority in the upper house.

Some other issues highlighted in the media were:-

  1. Indian banking crisis requires resolution. India’s liquidity crisis is mentioned which Modi will have to resolve.
  2. It is recommended that ‘chunky complex plan funded by more privatization and build more infrastructure to put growth back on rails when global growth and trade are slowing’.
  3. The Straits Times also writes that Modi’s second term will foster closer US-india relations37.
  4. Philippines reportage also mentions problems and challenges to economy, unemployment,
  5. Largely, the Modi campaign is reported as polarising, with references to Modi as ‘Hindu nationalist leader’.
  6. His campaign ‘deflected criticism on issues (such as economy, unemployment) by focusing on national security.
  7. Modi is urged to heal divisions ‘that have left India’s 170 million Muslims anxious’.

Reports from Indonesia in the last one week have a carried news about religious polarization38. Philippines reports of the BJP has discriminating against Muslims; that lynching39 of Muslims and Dalits over beef-eating have risen; that names of roads carrying Mughal emperor’s names have been changed; and that school history textbooks have been changed to downplay the Mughal past.

Reports from Myanmar are only Reuters reports and have just three news items that speak about electoral violence in Bengal, of how the BJP win has stoked fears amongst Muslims, and how the Muslims have now conceded to the demand for Ram temple in Ayodhya.

On Foreign Policy matters, there is only one report from the Straits Times to state that political and administrative continuity in India signals closer India-US ties. It quotes someone from India over how the continuity and commitment will continue to partners in the Indo-Pacific. Interestingly few reports have given emphasis to Xi’s note to Modi and also Imran Khan’s tweet congratulating Modi.

Except for Singapore, no other country has analysed India’s economy. Only one Singapore news spoke of the Indo-Pacific. The others were limited to India-Pakistan relations. Countries with Muslim populations focused their coverage only on Muslim polarization. No other issue about India or Indian elections found space. Perhaps more coverage was expected once Modi swears-in and a new cabinet is formed. The limited coverage also means that India does not enjoy visibility in South East Asia in general. Under the Act East Policy, India has given highest foreign policy priority to its eastern neighbourhood but for some reasons, the visibility seems disproportionate. Interestingly, all the newspapers that were covered for this write-up featured Theresa May’s resignation on its front pages.

One also gets a sense that very little is known about India in this region as far as media is concerned. Another view could be not so much about India’s own lacunae in making itself visible, but that these countries may not be too concerned about foreign affairs, their outlook maybe parochial. Since India does not affect their security or economy in the way China does, that may also explain the lack of interest. It is possible that India is seen as an extra-regional power in popular psyche. However, it is plausible that the vernacular press or print may have more coverage than English news portals.

One more issue is that India is hyphenated with Pakistan. There are reports on how Pakistan is not invited to Modi’s swearing in ceremony40. As of today there were reports of the planned informal summit between Modi and Xi. BJP party is addressed as Hindu Nationalist but it seems to be stated as a matter of fact and not a normative statement. There were couple of reports that point to how Modi has toned down his rhetoric after the poll win and spoke of inclusivity.

Singapore is the only one that has shown interest in India, as it always has desired a greater Indian role in the region. Media reports from Singapore should be taken seriously. Even the Indian business newspapers and India Inc. have been advocating Modi’s second term to chart out radical economic reform.

African Perspective

Indian elections have been widely covered by the African media. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP on their election victory. President Buhari described India as Nigeria’s largest trade partner and expressed appreciation over the mutually beneficial Nigeria-India relationship. According to him, he looks forward to expanding existing cooperation on energy, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and health. He recalled that under Prime Minister Modi India hosted the successful India-Africa Forum in Oct. 2015 and Nigeria proudly recognized India as a strategic development partner on the continent. The Nigerian leader wished the Indian Prime Minister a successful new term in office “that ushers in more prosperity, progress and stability to the people of the world’s largest democracy.” 41

In Mauritius, reports highlighted that the BJP of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a large lead in the first trends of the counting for the 17th Indian legislature. It augured a possible renewal of Hindu nationalists leading the country. Further, it was stated that firecrackers were already lit and drums were sounding for the militants of the BJP, and that victory was assured; many were already exulting to see Narendra Modi return to power - “This strong man who can defend us from terrorism”, one of the supporters with a megaphone in front of the headquarters of the BJP stated. The media opined that this was only the beginning because the fervor will rise with the supporters being confident that the polls predicted a landslide victory for the ruling majority led by the Hindu nationalist party BJP, and that the first round of polling began to confirm the numbers.42

InKenya, Raila hailed the veteran leader for the victory and the Indian people for their mature democracy, adding that the world should emulate their system. "After more than five weeks of polling and millions of votes cast, the world's biggest elections are over, and the people of India have given Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP-led coalition a clear mandate to serve the country for a second term”, he said in a statement, “I take this opportunity to offer a message of congratulations to Prime Minister Modi for his big win and to the people of India for the peaceful and credible poll that, as always, was a test of endurances and belief in democracy". Raila who also doubles up as AU's Infrastructural Development envoy, said that Kenya and India will strengthen their relationship in business and innovation. "As Prime Minister Modi and his government get down to addressing election promises, we in Kenya look forward to even stronger ties and cooperation in various areas including trade, healthcare and education, in addition to further strengthening our bilateral relationship with India," he added.43

The Africa Eye Report mentioned that the Party has improved its performance compared with the 2014 elections when it won 282 seats. Return of the right-wing party, with a bigger mandate, has caused concern among the country’s Muslim community, who suffered attacks by Hindu vigilante groups over the past five years. Although widespread agrarian distress and record levels of unemployment had put pressure on the BJP before the vote, Modi successfully steered the campaign away from these issues, harnessing rising tensions with Pakistan to focus on national security and foreign policy, and his party’s vote share increased by more than 10 percentage points. 44

The Ghanaian Times quotes that “the main opposition alliance, which is headed by Rahul Gandhi’s Congress Party, has admitted defeat. The vote had been widely viewed as a referendum on the prime minister’s Hindu nationalist politics. Over 600 million people voted in a marathon six-week process.” The Congress, which won just 44 suffering its worst defeat in 2014, with its allies took up just 60 seats in the lower house. This year, there were 900 million voters eligible to take part in seven rounds of voting, making it the largest election the world had ever seen. It further reported that Narendra Modi made this an election all about himself. He should have faced some anti-incumbent feeling. Joblessness has risen to a record high, farm incomes have plummeted and industrial production has slumped. Many Indians were hit hard by the currency ban (also known as demonetisation), which was designed to flush out undeclared wealth, and there were complaints about what critics said was a poorly-designed and complicated uniform sales tax. 45

The Mail and Guardian (Africa) mentioned that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi looked on-course for a major victory in the world’s largest election, with early trends suggesting an even bigger win for his Hindu nationalist party than in 2014. After four hours of counting the 600 million votes cast, Election Commission data showed Modi’s BJP clearly in the lead in 292 seats out of 542, with main rivals Congress on just 49. This would push the BJP over the 272 seats needed for a majority, defying some predictions and surpassing 2014 when Modi swept to power with 282 seats, the first parliamentary majority for a single party in 30 years in the country of 1.3 billion people. The result would give the BJP and its allies close to 50 seats, a commanding 340 seats in the lower house. They will still lack a majority in the upper house, however, putting a brake on Modi’s legislative agenda.

Reports further stated that as BJP celebrations began in some places, Indian stocks rose, with the main stock indices, the Sensex and the Nifty, gaining more than two percent to break the 40000 and 12000 point marks respectively for the first time. Also, early trends also suggested that Gandhi was in a tight race against a former Bollywood actress running for the BJP in his constituency which has been held by his family for generations. A second seat he was contesting in Kerala looked safer. Modi, by contrast, looked set to romp home in Varanasi — one of India’s holiest cities where Hindus are cremated on the banks of the Ganges — with almost two-thirds of the votes.46

The Daily Guide Network further reports that “the main opposition alliance, which is headed by Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party, has admitted defeat”. The General Elections was widely viewed as a referendum on the Prime Minister’s Hindu nationalist politics, and that the victory was won despite growing unemployment, fears of a recession and a slump in industrial production. Partial and declared results showed that Mr Modi’s BJP was projected to win 300 seats on its own, and combined with the party’s allies, this number reaches nearly 350. The main opposition Congress party was expected to win fewer than 60. A really simple guide to India’s general election followed: A party or coalition needed at least 272 seats to secure a majority in the 543-member lower house of parliament, or Lok Sabha: in 2014, the BJP won 282 seats – the biggest victory by any party in 30 years – and with its allies it secured 336 seats in that Parliament. The Congress, which won just 44, suffered its worst defeat in 2014 and with its allies took up just 60 seats in the lower house. More than 600 million people voted in a marathon six-week process, which involved seven rounds of voting.47

Endnotes
  1. India's Giant Election Gets Underway, TOLO News, 11 April 2019, URL: https://www.tolonews.com/world/indias-giant-election-gets-underway
  2. India's Modi Set To Return To Power With A Bigger Majority, 20 MAY 2019, TOLO News, URL: https://www.tolonews.com/world/indias-modi-set-return-power-bigger-majority
  3. India Starts Counting 600 Million Votes, TOLO News, 23 May 2019, URL: https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/india-starts-counting-600-million-votes
  4. Ghani Congratulates Modi On His Victory In India’s Elections, TOLO News, 23 May 2019, URL: https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/ghani-congratulates-modi-his-victory-%C2%A0india%E2%80%99s-election
  5. Impact Of Narendra Modi Election Win On Pakistan, Accessed May 24, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfgWwFbROT8&t=478s
  6. Indian Election 2019: Moeed Yousaf analysis on Modi's victory, Accessed May 24, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mrq6-6VBUG4&t=311s
  7. Effects of Modi's electoral win on Regional politics, Accessed May 27, 2019.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp6xqVJcwgg
  8. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-24/india-election-narendra-modi-victory-shows-voters-chose-populism/11142954
  9. https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/you-think-australian-elections-are-big-in-india-an-eighth-of-the-world-s-population-is-in-line-to-vote-20190411-p51d52.html
  10. https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/why-australia-needs-to-pay-attention-to-the-indian-election
  11. https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d514d7751544f33457a6333566d54/index.html
  12. https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d674d3155544f33457a6333566d54/index.html
  13. http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1150774.shtml
  14. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201905/23/WS5ce609aba3104842260bd57d.html
  15. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-05/24/c_138084096.htm
  16. http://en.people.cn/n3/2019/0524/c90000-9581068.html
  17. http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1151315.shtml
  18. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201905/23/WS5ce6a178a3104842260bd735.html
  19. Khaleej Times. “India wins yet again, tweets Modi as BJP sweep polls.” Khaleej Times. May 24, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2019. https://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/india-elections-2019/bjp-sweeping-lok-sabha-elections-congress-mauled-12
  20. Khaleej Times. “BJP crossed the 300 seat mark in the Lok Sabha elections.” Khaleej times. May 24, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2019. https://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/india-elections-2019/indian-elections-2019-bjp-wins
  21. Sankar, A. and Kumar, A. “Indian expats in UAE rejoice as BJP leads in vote count.” Khaleej Times. May 24, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2019. https://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/india-elections-2019/indian-expats-in-uae-rejoice-as-bjp-leads-in-vote-count-12
  22. The Jerusalem Post. “India’s PM Modi set to sweep to General Election victory.” The Jerusalem Post. May 23, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2019. https://www.jpost.com/International/Indias-PM-Modi-set-to-sweep-to-general-election-victory-590465
  23. The Jerusalem Post. “Pakistan says want Peace with India, Conducts Missile Test.” The Jerusalem Post. May 23, 2019, Accessed May 24, 2019. https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Pakistan-says-wants-peace-with-India-conducts-missile-test-590467
  24. Al Arabiya. “India’s Modi stuns opposition with huge election win.” Al Arabiya. May 24, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2019. https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/05/24/India-s-Modi-stuns-opposition-with-huge-election-win.html
  25. Mondal, S. “India votes Modi back with landmark mandate.” Al Jazeera. May 24, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2019. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/india-votes-modi-landmark-mandate-190523122306435.html
  26. Iran Daily. “India’s Modi takes early lead as counting of 600 million votes begins.” Iran Daily. May 23, 2019. Accessed may 24, 2019. http://www.iran-daily.com/News/253228.html
  27. https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201905241075285968-modi-victory-drums-up-nationalistic-fervor/
  28. Ibid.
  29. https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/05/article/of-megalomaniacs-and-useful-idiots/
  30. https://regnum.ru/news/polit/2634031.html
  31. https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3977360
  32. https://www.centralasianews.net/news/261174514/india-election-how-narendra-modi-won-with-an-even-bigger-majority
  33. http://tass.com/pressreview/1059864
  34. https://sputniknews.com/asia/201905281075399892-internal-politics-no-invite-for-pak-pm/
  35. https://www.ft.com/content/3dc5cb98-815e-11e9-b592-5fe435b57a3b
  36. https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/05/article/indias-new-government-to-push-labor-reforms/
  37. https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/modis-election-win-signals-continuity-of-commitment-to-close-india-us-ties
  38. https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/17/muslim-man-killed-in-new-suspected-india-cow-lynching.html
  39. https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/22/in-an-indian-village-muslims-talk-of-leaving-as-divide-with-hindus-widens.html
  40. https://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2019/05/28/india-snubs-pakistan-for-modis-swearingin-ceremony--sources/
  41. India polls: Buhari congratulates Modi on election victory (PM NEWS Nigeria) https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2019/05/23/india-polls-buhari congratulates-modi-on-election-victory/
  42. Legislative in India: first count, the BJP party of Modi in mind (Source: Rfi) Posted by Reeya Rambojun https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2019-05-23---legislative-in-india--first-count--the-bjp-party-of-modi-in-mind-.S1uu5nXTN.html
  43. Raila sends Indian PM Modi congratulatory message after poll victory (Hivisasa) https://hivisasa.com/posts/1049-railas-sends-indian-pm-modi-congratulatory-message-after-poll-victory
  44. India Votes Modi Back with Landmark Mandate https://africaneyereport.com/india-votes-modi-back-with-landmark-mandate/
  45. Landslide win for Modi in India elections…Gandhi concedes defeat http://www.ghanaiantimes.com.gh/landslide-win-for-modi-in-india-elections-gandhi-concedes-defeat/
  46. India's Modi on course for big election win https://mg.co.za/article/2019-05-23-indias-modi-on-course-for-big-election-win
  47. Narendra Modi Thanks Indian Voters for ‘Historic Mandate’https://dailyguidenetwork.com/narendra-modi-thanks-indian-voters-for-historic-mandate/

Image source: https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/e607a0f4ac8c532f9112d93e2c30dcbfc1b79137/0_311_4753_2852/master/4753.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-align=bottom%2Cleft&overlay-width=100p&overlay-base64=L2ltZy9zdGF0aWMvb3ZlcmxheXMvdGctZGVmYXVsdC5wbmc&s=1906bc52f6631c103d5ba99155db172f

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
9 + 9 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.
Contact Us