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CNA Explains: India’s ‘shock’ election result and the impact on Southeast Asia

India’s marathon general election drew to a close on Tuesday (Jun 4), with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failing to win a parliamentary majority for the first time in a decade.

The shock result came as commentators and exit polls projected an overwhelming victory for Mr Modi, who will still enter a rare third term in office.

The election, which was conducted in seven phases over six weeks, concluded with more than 642 million votes cast in the world's largest democratic exercise.

With the final vote count concluded, official results show that Mr Modi’s political alliance — known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and led by BJP — has won enough seats needed to form the next government.

However, the BJP only secured 240 out of 543 parliamentary seats. This is much lower than the target of 400 seats that Mr Modi set during the election campaign, and the 303 seats that it won at the last polls five years ago.

The halfway mark is 272 seats.

The BJP also lost its national majority after major defeats in key states. After dominating Indian politics for a decade, it will need to rely on coalition allies to pass legislation in parliament.

Its current vote share at 36.6 per cent is marginally lower than at the last general election.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Congress party performed better than expected, defying several exit poll predictions.

It is set to take 99 seats, almost doubling its 2019 tally of 52. It also managed to end the BJP’s total dominance in Mr Modi’s home state of Gujarat, winning one seat out of 26 after coming up short in the 2014 and 2019 elections.

Congress leads the opposition INDIA coalition, which won 232 seats.

Analysts whom CNA spoke to pointed to voters