It quickly became clear early on Friday morning across India that Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP, भारतीय जनता पार्टी) were headed for a historical victory in India’s national elections, which took place across nine separate phases between April 7 and May 12.
But to really understand the impact of the victory, it’s important to delve into the results on a state-by-state level. Where did the BJP massively exceed expectations? Where did it fall short? Where did regional leaders keep the ‘Modi wave’ at bay? Where did regional leaders fail? Each state tells us something about the future shape of India’s new political reality in New Delhi and about the future of state governance, which, after all, represents the most important level of government for most Indians, even in the Modi era.
For the record, here are the final results:
The BJP, together with its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 336 seats in the Lok Sabha (लोक सभा), the House of the People, the lower house of India’s parliament. It’s the largest mandate that any Indian party/coalition has won since 1984.
The ruling Indian National Congress (Congress, भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस) and its allies in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won just 58 seats. Not only did the Congress suffer the worst defeat of its history under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, the great-grandson of India’s first post-independence prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, it’s the first time that a non-Congress party has won an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha.
Regional parties and other third groups won an additional 149 seats. Continue reading A state-by-state overview of India’s election results →
After a huge third phase in which 91 constituencies of India’s election were decided on April 10, Saturday’s fourth phase of India’s general election is barely a trickle — just seven seats.
It’s the last ‘miniature’ phase of the election — the next five phases, through May 12, will determine the remaining 432 (out of 543) seats of India’s Lok Sabha (लोक सभा).
The April 12 phase coincides with elections to determine Sikkim’s legislative assembly, and it will elect Sikkim’s sole representative to the Lok Sabha.
The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF, सिक्किम प्रजातान्त्रिक मोर्चा) dominates Sikkimese politics, and its chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, who has been in power since 1994, hopes to win a record fifth consecutive term in office. Though the SDF isn’t formally part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), it might be expected to back Narendra Modi and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP, भारतीय जनता पार्टी) if it has enough strength to form a government, as widely expected.
Where are the other six constituencies?
- In Goa, another small state, notable for its pristine beach resorts and its Portuguese influence, will elect both of its representatives to the Lok Sabha. The BJP narrowly controls the state government, and the BJP and its national rival, the Indian National Congress (Congress, भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस) currently split Goa’s two Lok Sabha seats.
- In Assam, the largest of the ‘seven sister states’ of India’s far northeastern corner, where 14 seats are up for grabs, three constituencies will vote on Saturday. Five of its constituencies held elections in India’s first phase.
- Tripura, another northeastern state, which also elected one of its two representatives to the Lok Sabha in India’s first phase, will elect the second on Saturday.
Without offense to northeastern India, Goa or Sikkim, the fourth phase won’t determine the country’s next government.
The photo above shows a statute in the city of Namchi depicting Guru Rinpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim.
Sikkim is the least populous state in India, with just 610,577 residents.
It’s also one of India’s more remote states, nudged in the Himalayan mountains with Chinese Tibet to its north, Nepal to its west and Bhutan to its east. Darjeeling, the town in West Bengal state known so well for the tea of the same name, lies just south of Sikkim. In the colonial period, in fact, Darjeeling was part of Sikkim.
But its state elections will take the spotlight briefly this weekend, when its chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling tries to win a fifth consecutive term — if he does, he could become the longest-serving chief minister in India’s history.*
Chamling leads the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF, सिक्किम प्रजातान्त्रिक मोर्चा), which is about as dominant a regional force as you’ll find in India. Not only does it hold Sikkim’s one seat in the national parliament, but it holds every single at in Sikkim’s 32-member legislative assembly. Continue reading Chamling hopes to break record as India’s longest-serving chief minister →