The national elections in India have brought victory to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The NDA has won a stable majority in the lower house of parliament. This means that the right-wing coalition will remain in power for at least another five years, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be able to continue his economic and social reforms, as well as be able to operate with a free hand in the international arena.
Before the elections, most experts predicted a slim victory for the NDA. Such a scenario would follow the usual logic of the Indian electoral cycles of the last few decades: the party first enters office with a landslide victory, partially loses support as a result of mistakes in governance during the first term but nevertheless wins in the second election, but is defeated in the third one. Of course, there have been exceptions to this set-up - in the mid-1990s, due to a political crisis, the country had a series of three prime ministers in two years, but the general scheme where the party, after a victory, gradually loses the confidence of voters has remained stable.
BJP was able to hold power for several reasons. First of all, due to the high popularity of Narendra Modi, who managed to create an image of the "prime minister of the majority". Modi positions himself as an ascetic who thinks only about the prosperity of India, does not hide his adherence to Hinduism, and appeals to the needs of the "common man" in his speeches. He is an excellent speaker who knows how to find the key to his audience, and with the help of an extensive network of local party organisations, can react in time to signals from the regions. As a result, Modi and his party have managed not only to mitigate the effect of the monetary reform that hit the pockets of the main BJP electorate - small farmers in the northern and central regions of India - but also to increase its popularity. In addition, the emerging success of socio-economic initiatives has helped to counter the reproaches of the opposition. In general, we can say, that following the results of the elections, Modi was able to explain to his electorate the inevitability of temporary difficulties, instil optimism and faith in the fulfilment of the promises made by the authorities and gain much-needed credibility.
The recent conflict with Pakistan has also positively influenced the popularity of the prime minister and the ruling party. Despite the fact that from the point of view of the world community, Pakistan was ahead of India in terms of ‘points’ (dubious results of attacks on militant camps, inability to repel Pakistani raids, loss of MiG-21 aircraft and capture of the pilot), for the majority of the Indian public, which gets information mainly from the regional media (which expresses official and ultra-patriotic points of view) India emerged as an undisputed winner. According to voters in India, the Pakistani militant camps were defeated, the heroic pilot Abhinandan managed to destroy a modern Pakistani F-16 using an outdated MiG, and Islamabad submitted to Modi’s demand and returned the downed Indian pilot to his homeland. In this case, the incident itself, coupled with the recent terrorist attacks on Sri Lanka, contributed to the fact that the challenges to the security of the state became one of the key issues during the election campaign. BJP successfully used that, indicating that thanks to the measures taken by the government, it was possible to limit terrorist activities within the state of Jammu and Kashmir and to achieve significant success in the fight against terrorists. All failures were due to the inadequate preparations made by the previous government, which formed by the largest opposition party - the Indian National Congress (INC).