General Elections 2019
The BJP-led NDA government became the only non-Congress government to return to power in the Indian political history after a historic win in the 17th Lok Sabha elections.
• The NDA surpassed its last tally of 336 to achieve a supersized number of 350 seats, out of the total 542 Lok Sabha seats.
• BJP itself won 303 seats across the country.
17th Lok Sabha Elections
• The 2019 Indian general election was held in seven phases from 11th April to 19th May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.
• The counting of votes took place on 23rd May, and on the same day the results were declared.
• About 900 million Indian citizens were eligible to vote in one of the seven phases depending on the region.
• The 2019 elections attracted a turnout of over 67% – the highest ever in the history of Indian general elections, as well as the highest recorded participation in Indian elections by women.
• The highest turnout was recorded in Lakshadweep at 84.96% whereas the lowest turnout was in J&K at 29.39%.
• Legislative Assembly elections in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim were held simultaneously with the general election.
Some Trends from the 17th Lok Sabha Elections
• The Bharatiya Janata Party garnered 37.4% of the votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
• This is the highest vote share received by the party nationwide in any Lok Sabha election since the party was (re) formed in 1980.
• After Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Narendra Modi also became the third prime minister of India who retained power for a second term with full majority in Lok Sabha.
Major Factors which Shaped the Election Result
• Leadership: The BJP remodelled Brand Modi from a development-oriented leader from Gujarat to a leader of international stature. It was repeatedly stated that India’s international standing has risen since PM Modi took over in 2014. However, the opposition did not have a credible leadership of similar stature.
• Organisational strength: The BJP formed small teams of four to five workers in areas covered by every single booth in all the Lok Sabha constituencies giving it last mile connectivity. However, opposition failed to revive its organisational structure.
• Welfare schemes: The BJP government claims to have built more than 9 crore toilets for the poor of the country through the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and provided free LPG connection to the families having no access to cooking gas under the PM Ujjwala Yojana. These two schemes together benefited directly or indirectly more than 25 crores of India’s 90 crore voters. In contrast, NYAY scheme of Congress came too late and was inadequately highlighted.
• National narrative: Before the Pulwama attack, the Rafale deal, 45-year-high unemployment rate and farm distress seemed to be building election narrative. Balakot air strike worked in favour of the Modi government, which built on its nationalistic narrative and connected it with the pride of the Indian nation. Opposition failed to counter this narrative.
• Divided opposition: Opposition could not even unite for tactical reasons for defeating BJP. Though some alliance were forged, such as SP-BSP in Uttar Pradesh, it was simply not enough to contain the BJP.
• Negative politics of opposition: The negative politics of opposition also led to its defeat. Instead of presenting their own plan, they focussed on personal attack on PM Modi.
• This result is being viewed as an endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s persona.
• BJP certainly got some things wrong in the last five years but it got one central aspect of a changing India right: the new age Indian voter is an aspirational one, she wants a confident leadership to represent an increasingly confident and selfassured nation.
• BJP’s dramatic victory is also a mandate for business-friendly policies and tougher national security stance.
• At the same time, gaining the trust of all citizens will be a necessary prerequisite for the government to drive India’s continuing journey to become a global leader.