India's Narendra Modi declares victory despite election blow

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) flashes victory sign as he arrives at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters to celebrate the party’s win in country’s general election, in New Delhi on June 4, 2024. 

Arun Sankar | Afp | Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared victory in the country’s election late on Tuesday, despite his party looking set to lose its outright majority, leaving him reliant on smaller regional parties.

Ongoing vote counts suggest that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to win just 239 seats — down from 303 in 2019 — and would have to seek power-sharing agreements to clinch a historic third term in power.

The wider BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) looks set to win a combined 294 parliamentary seats, according to local media. At least 272 seats are needed to form a government.  

“People have placed their faith in NDA, for a third consecutive time! This is a historical feat in India’s history,” Modi said on X as counting was nearing a conclusion.

India stocks fall following narrow Modi election victory

He followed up those words with a speech at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, saying that “today’s victory is the victory of the world’s largest democracy,” according to a translation by the Associated Press.

Modi reportedly said in March that he was confident the NDA would secure more than 400 seats.

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Modi reportedly told the crowd that he would advance India’s defense production, jobs for young adults and ramp up exports. “This country will see a new chapter of big decisions. This is Modi’s guarantee,” he said, according to AP.

India’s benchmark indexes, the Nifty 50 and BSE Sensex, on Tuesday plunged 8% as it became clear the BJP could fall short of a majority.

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— CNBC’s Charmaine Jacob contributed to this article.

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