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    Majority of the counts completed – Modi secures majority


    He had been confident of victory beforehand, and now there are initial confirmations: the counting of a large proportion of the votes in the Indian election points to a success for Prime Minister Modi.

    In India's parliamentary elections, a victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been in office for ten years, was on the cards. As the Election Commission announced on Tuesday, Modi's Hindu nationalist BJP was in the lead with around 38 percent after 75 percent of the votes had been counted, making it the strongest political force again. Compared to the 2019 election, however, the government coalition led by it suffered significant losses.

    Even after a decade in power, Modi is popular among large sections of the population and is now facing a third term in office in the world's most populous country. The 73-year-old's opponents have been weakened by internal power struggles and politically motivated criminal proceedings. Modi's political opponents and international human rights groups have long complained about the erosion of democracy in India.

    According to the partial result published by the Election Commission, the coalition led by Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will win at least 280 of the 543 seats in the parliament in New Delhi. The opposition performed significantly better than in 2019, when 353 MPs from the BJP and its allies made it into parliament.

    Modi's main political rival, the chief minister of the capital state of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, is in prison. He was arrested in March, shortly before the start of the parliamentary elections, on corruption charges.

    Kejriwal, who denies any wrongdoing, has since been released from prison to contest the election. Before returning to prison, he said: “When power becomes a dictatorship, then a prison sentence is a sign of responsibility.”

    According to the US think tank Freedom House, the BJP is increasingly using government institutions to take action against political opponents. The opposition and human rights groups also accuse Modi of favoring the country's Hindu majority. During the election campaign, Modi referred to the country's 210 million Muslims as “intruders” and “those with more children.” Complaints by the opposition about the head of government had no consequences.

    Modi, for his part, accuses the main opposition party (INC) of wanting to push for a redistribution of wealth in the country to Muslim households. India is a secular state. According to electoral law, campaigns aimed at stirring up sentiment against individual population groups are prohibited.

    The parliamentary election in India was the largest democratic election in the world. Up until Saturday, more than 968 million people had been called to vote for six weeks. The counting was carried out by special counting computers. The final results were expected later in the day.

    Voter turnout was 66.3 percent, compared to 67.4 percent in 2019. The slightly lower turnout was also attributed to the heat wave that India is currently suffering from. In the state of Uttar Pradesh alone, at least 33 poll workers died of heat stroke on Saturday, the last day of the parliamentary elections.

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