Skip to main content

Indian premier Narendra Modi's party set for victory in 3 states ahead of 2024 national vote

Supporters of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, celebrate early leads for the party in Rajasthan state elections in Jaipur, India, Sunday, Dec.3, 2023. (AP Photo/Deepak Sharma) Supporters of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, celebrate early leads for the party in Rajasthan state elections in Jaipur, India, Sunday, Dec.3, 2023. (AP Photo/Deepak Sharma)
Share
NEW DELHI -

India's Hindu nationalist party was headed for a clear win in three out of four state elections Sunday, according to the election commission's website. The crucial poll has pitted India's opposition against the ruling party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of next year's vital national vote.

Ballot counting showed Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, was poised to wrest control of the states of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan from the Indian National Congress, India's main opposition party. The BJP was also likely to be re-elected in Madhya Pradesh for a record fifth term.

The Congress was comfortably leading in Telangana state which is ruled by the strong Telangana Rashtra Samithi, known for opposing BJP in the state.

Final results are expected later Sunday.

Vote counting in a fifth state, Mizoram, is set for Monday where BJP's regional ally, the Mizo National Front, is in power.

Elections in the five states were held last month and more than 160 million people, or a sixth of India's electorate, were eligible to vote. Polling in India is generally done in phases owing to the large population.

Modi thanked voters for "their unwavering support" in the states where his party was leading.

"The results in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan indicate that the people of India are firmly with politics of good governance and development, which the @BJP4India stands for," Modi wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader, conceded defeat in the three states where his party was trailing. "The battle of ideology will continue," he wrote on X, and thanked the people of Telangana where his party was winning.

BJP workers celebrated their party's certain win across the country. In some places they danced wearing Modi masks, distributed sweets and smeared colours on each others' faces as mark of jubilations.

At the party headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday evening, the BJP activists lined up on the two sides and Modi walked between them, waving. The activists showered him with flower petals, chanting "Long live Mother India" and other slogans.

Later, Modi in a speech said the results were "historic and unprecedented" and "a victory for honesty, transparency and good governance."

Modi and his party remain popular on a national level after nearly a decade in power and surveys suggest he will win a third consecutive term in 2024. But a new alliance of 28 opposition parties, called INDIA, is expected to challenge Modi's party nationally. The acronym, which stands for Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, comprises India's previously fractured opposition parties and is led by the Congress party.

Both the Indian premier and the Congress leader Gandhi flew across the five states to woo voters before the election. The charged-up voting campaigns witnessed both leaders promising voters subsidies, loan waivers and employment guarantees.

Modi will seek reelection next year at a time when India's global diplomatic reach is rising. But in recent polls, Congress has dented his party's image of invincibility by toppling local BJP governments in state elections in southern Karnataka and northern Himachal Pradesh.

The elections come at a time when India is facing multiple challenges, including rising unemployment, attacks by Hindu nationalists against the country's minorities, particularly Muslims, and a shrinking space for dissent and free media.

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

Here's where The Body Shop is closing in Canada

The Body Shop Canada Ltd. is shutting down more than 30 stores across Canada. The renowned beauty brand announced Friday it will start immediately liquidating nearly a third of its 105 stores.

First-time homebuyer incentive discontinued: CMHC

Canada's housing agency says it is ending the first-time homebuyer incentive program. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the deadline for new or updated submissions to the program is midnight eastern time on March 21.

Stay Connected