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June 4, 2024 – Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks

June 4, 2024 – Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks
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By Rhea Mogul, Jessie Yeung, Diksha Madhok, Antoinette Radford and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated

5:22 p.m. ET, June 4, 2024

24 min ago

Our live coverage for the day has ended. Follow the latest India election news or read through the updates below.

12 min ago

Photos: Scenes from India’s general election

The votes were counted Tuesday after the world’s largest election was held in India.

From April 19 to June 1, more than 640 million people cast their vote at polling stations from the high peaks of the Himalayas to the remote jungles of the west.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared victory on Tuesday – but his goal of winning an unassailable majority lay in tatters with early results showing voters reduced the extent of his party’s grip on power.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is greeted by supporters as he arrives at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is greeted by supporters as he arrives at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday. Manish Swarup/AP
Election officials carry sealed electronic voting machines at a counting center in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Election officials carry sealed electronic voting machines at a counting center in Mumbai on Tuesday. Rafiq Maqbool/AP
A person wears a badge of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) party symbol as it's smeared with color during celebrations at the party office after election results outside the party office in Mumbai on Tuesday.
A person wears a badge of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) party symbol as it’s smeared with color during celebrations at the party office after election results outside the party office in Mumbai on Tuesday. Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters
Trinamool Congress party members celebrate in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Trinamool Congress party members celebrate in Kolkata on Tuesday. Sudipta Das/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi. Adnan Abidi/Reuters
30 min ago

Analysis: Modi, Ambani and Adani — the men shaping India’s economy 

Analysis from CNN’s Diksha Madhok 

Gautam Adani (left), Narendra Modi (center) and Mukesh Ambani (right) are building modern India.
Gautam Adani (left), Narendra Modi (center) and Mukesh Ambani (right) are building modern India. Photo Illustration by Alberto Mier/CNN/Getty Images

In less than a decade, Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani has upended India’s telecom sector and become a top player in sectors ranging from media to retail as chairman of India’s most valuable private company: Reliance Industries. 

His ambition and breathless pace of expansion is matched by Gautam Adani, founder of the Adani group, who helms businesses ranging from ports and power to defense and aerospace. 

Reliance Industries and the Adani Group are sprawling conglomerates worth over $200 billion each, with businesses in sectors ranging from fossil fuels and clean energy to media and technology. 

Investors have been cheering the duo’s ability to adroitly bet on sectors prioritized for development by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

As a result, these three men — Modi, Ambani and Adani — are playing a fundamental role in shaping the economic superpower India will become in the coming decades. 

The South Asian country is poised to become a 21st-century economic powerhouse, offering a real alternative to China for investors hunting for growth and manufacturers looking to reduce risks in their supply chains. 

Worth $3.7 trillion in 2023, India is the world’s fifth largest economy, jumping four spots in the rankings during Modi’s decade in office and leapfrogging the United Kingdom. 

Sustained expansion will push India higher up the ranks of the world’s biggest economies, with some observers forecasting the South Asian nation to become number three behind only the US and China by 2027. 

Despite these successes, soaring youth unemployment and inequality remain stubbornly persistent problems. In 2022, the country ranked a lowly 147 on gross domestic product (GDP) per person, a measure of living standards, according to the World Bank. 

To spur growth, the Modi government has begun a massive infrastructure transformation and heavily promoting digital connectivity — with Adani and Ambani becoming key allies. 

Both tycoons are considered vocal champions of Modi, and prominent politicians from opposition parties in India have often questioned Modi’s ties with India’s super-rich. 

Read the full analysis. 

CNN’s Jessie Yeung contributed to this report from Mumbai. 

35 min ago

Analysis: Is India’s free press not so free after a decade of Modi?

Analysis from CNN’s Aishwarya S. Iyer 

A vendor reads a newspaper next to his stall on a roadside in New Delhi on February 1.
A vendor reads a newspaper next to his stall on a roadside in New Delhi on February 1. Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

India is one of the largest media markets in the world, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), with more than 20,000 daily newspapers across the country and about 450 privately owned channels dedicated to news, which broadcast in dozens of languages. 

Yet despite its size and diversity, critics say the media industry is growing increasingly subservient to Modi’s government.  

“There was a blend of public service, public interest and corporate private media that served a burgeoning urban middle class, but also showed interest in issues of rural development. Journalists were respected… Regulatory mechanisms were weak but not completely absent,” said Shakuntala Banaji, media professor at the London School of Economics.  “They have been all but destroyed in the last 10 years.” 

India fell 25 places on the Press Freedom Index between 2015 and 2023, to 161st place — below neighboring Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. In the latest index for this year it rose slightly to 159th place but remains below all neighbors except Bangladesh (165th). 

“There has been a sharp deterioration in the status of media over the last 10 years,” Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) India representative Kunal Majumder told CNN, adding that this included imprisonment and invoking terror laws to criminalize journalists. 

There has also been an uptick, it said, in the use of anti-terror laws — which allow for detention without trial or charge for up to 180 days — against reporters. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not taken a single solo press conference in his decade-long rule. 

The government of the popular but divisive leader stands accused by opponents of suppressing media pluralism. 

Modi critics fear further erosion of the protections afforded to India’s free press if he is elected. 

19 min ago

Meet the winners of India’s economic boom 

From CNN’s Jessie Yeung, Priti Gupta and Esha Mitra 

Slums are seen near commercial high-rise buildings in Mumbai, India, on April 14.
Slums are seen near commercial high-rise buildings in Mumbai, India, on April 14. Noemi Cassanelli/CNN

More than 40% of India’s 1.4 billion people are under 25: a tech-savvy and mostly English-speaking labor force. Like millions of migrants, many of them are drawn to the country’s financial capital Mumbai, full of aspiration and ambition. And it’s stories like these that inspire them. 

Javed Khatri poses for a picture during an interview with CNN in Mumbai on April 16. 
Javed Khatri poses for a picture during an interview with CNN in Mumbai on April 16.  Noemi Cassanelli/CNN

The tech developer: Growing up in the slums of Mumbai, Javed Khatri never used a smartphone or computer.  

“In the region where I used to stay, one of the best things that one could think of was just to complete 10th grade, and then work at a call center or sell vegetables or work at a garage or do some kind of odd jobs,” says Khatri, now 30. “That was our topmost ambition.” 

But unlike many children in the slums, he completed 10th grade – the first person in four generations of his family to do so – then studied computer science at an engineering college.  

He is now building an online platform to connect tech firms with engineers. He moved his family out of the slum, and supports his parents. Both his siblings went to college and pursued their own careers. 

None of this would have been possible a generation ago, he says. 

Apoorva Mukhija poses for a picture at her apartment in Mumbai on April 13. 
Apoorva Mukhija poses for a picture at her apartment in Mumbai on April 13.  Noemi Cassanelli/CNN

The influencer: Apoorva Mukhija hadn’t planned to be a content creator, so after graduation she took a job with a tech firm in Bangalore, the southern city known as “India’s Silicon Valley.” 

“Then one day I just woke up, realized … (my job) just didn’t pay as well as content did, and I hated living in that city,” Mukhija, 22, tells CNN from a pastel-pink couch at her new apartment in Mumbai, which she says is her “dream city.” 

Her career has thrived, winning her recognition from local media and amassing 1.3 million Instagram followers. 

The internet holds a wealth of opportunities for young Indians. The country’s influencer marketing industry is expected to be worth more than $281 million in 2024, according to consultancy EY India. Smartphones and social media are fueling this growth.  

Jameel Shah poses for a photo in Mumbai on April 14. 
Jameel Shah poses for a photo in Mumbai on April 14.  Noemi Cassanelli/CNN

The shoemaker: At age 13, Jameel Shah ran away from his village in Bihar, India’s poorest state, where his father wasn’t earning enough from farming to send the kids to school.  

In Mumbai, he saw an opportunity in the expensive imported dance shoes required for dance classes. 

He took two samples back to the narrow alleys of Dharavi, a hub for leather and textile manufacturers. With their expertise, and his own experience working in bag and wallet factories, Shah began experimenting. 

The business grew, attracting stylists and choreographers who redistributed the shoes to dance studios. And they even made it onto the big screen. 

Almost two decades later, Shah Shoes has helped support his family. He’s bought a house for his parents and started an education center in his home village teaching literacy to those who can’t afford school. 

A key tool was the rise of social media, particularly Facebook, helping him find customers – which Shah credited to Prime Minister Modi’s push for a “digital India.” 

Read the full story. 

46 min ago

Analysis: Under Modi, India’s military has grown stronger 

Analysis from CNN’s Brad Lendon 

The National Cadet Corps personnel march during a rehearsal ahead of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 17.
The National Cadet Corps personnel march during a rehearsal ahead of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 17. Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

India’s armed forces, the world’s second-largest in terms of personnel, have made big improvements in their abilities under Prime Minister Narendra Modi — but face challenges no matter who wins the election, an analyst said. 

Viraj Solanki, a research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the armed forces have centralized control under Modi while making improvements to joint operations based on the theater where forces are deployed, rather than what each service would like to do. 

Those include setting up integrated battle groups along the country’s borders with China and Pakistan, Solanki said. 

China, whose People’s Liberation Army is the world’s biggest military force, represents India’s biggest worry going forward, he said. 

“The (Indian) military has aimed to provide a bolder and more assertive posture towards China’s aggression on the border, however, it continues to face challenges,” he said. 

“India’s ‘military clout’ remains clearly below China’s” and can be expected to remain so, especially since Beijing’s defense budget is three times as large as New Delhi’s, Solanki added.  

The Modi government has stepped up defense ties with the United States, Japan and Australia — members of the Quad partnership along with India — as a way to offset China’s advantages. 

But Solanki said improvements to the Indian military are hamstrung by two key factors. More than half of its defense budget is spent on personnel and pensions, and much of its hardware is of Russian or Soviet origin, meaning spare parts and upgrades may be in short supply as Moscow’s war in Ukraine soaks up those resources. 

53 min ago

Analysis: India has grown closer to US under Modi 

From CNN’s Rhea Mogul  

US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk to a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, during Modi's state visit to the US in June 2023.
US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk to a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, during Modi’s state visit to the US in June 2023. Pete Marovich/Pool/Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was once shunned by the United States.  

Denied a visa for “severe violations of religious freedom,” he was effectively banned from entering the country for nearly a decade.  

But in the years since that ban was lifted, Modi has been progressively embraced by the White House. 

While the US has positioned itself as a democratic protector in an increasingly populist and polarized era, it has seemingly turned a blind eye to New Delhi’s alleged human rights abuses at home — where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has come under scrutiny from rights groups and opposition lawmakers for its increasingly strident brand of Hindu nationalist politics and an ongoing crackdown on dissent. 

Modi and India, the world’s largest democracy, are necessarily a lynchpin in Biden’s strategy in Asia. As the world’s most populous country, no major global challenge, from climate change to advances in technology, can be addressed without India’s buy-in, in Biden’s view.   

Both New Delhi and Washington are becoming increasingly uneasy about Beijing’s growing military might, aggressive territorial claims on land and at sea, and growing economic influence over its smaller neighbors. 

In an era of growing tensions between the US and China, there are few partners that Biden is more eager to cultivate. 

1 hr 3 min ago

What’s changed since India’s first election? 

From Esha Mitra in New Delhi 

India’s first general elections began in October 1951, four years after it gained independence from British rule, and soon after it became a republic in 1950.  

The election lasted about four months and the Indian National Congress emerged victorious in February 1952.  

Population boom: India then had a population of about 361 million people with 173 million registered electors.  

Since then, the population has increased nearly four-fold to 1.429 billion, with more than five times the number of eligible voters, according to the Election Commission of India. 

From paper to voting machines: In the first elections, Indians used paper ballots to cast their votes.  

Electronic voting machines were first used in the state of Kerala in 1982. But because there was no law prescribing their use, the Supreme Court struck down that election. In 1989 laws were amended to allow the use of voting machines after consensus was reached.  

In recent years, the validity of voting machines has again been questioned — this time by opposition parties that say they are being misused to favor the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — an allegation the BJP denies. 

1 hr 24 min ago

In an India divided by prosperity and poverty, whose dreams come true?

From CNN’s Jessie Yeung, Priti Gupta and Esha Mitra

From left, Rupali Rao Kilare and Shreya Verma pose for a picture.
From left, Rupali Rao Kilare and Shreya Verma pose for a picture. Noemi Cassanelli/CNN

At 7 a.m., Rupali Rao Kilare starts getting ready for the day in the cramped home she shares with five family members.

Though the sun has long risen, some alleys remain pitch dark as she weaves through the slum where she lives in Mumbai’s Goregaon West neighborhood, its narrow walls wedged between tightly packed buildings that block the light.

Kilare, 22, must hurry to beat the crowds at the slum’s communal toilets, before taking a three-wheeled auto-rickshaw to her boss’ home for her cleaning shift.

Kilare walks along a crowded alley as she goes back home after her daytime cleaning shift — with more shifts later in the evening.
Kilare walks along a crowded alley as she goes back home after her daytime cleaning shift — with more shifts later in the evening. Noemi Cassanelli/CNN

Just 3 miles (about 5 kilometers) away in Goregaon East, Shreya Verma, 26, stirs awake in her air-conditioned bedroom, pulls back the curtains and takes in the view of greenery and high-rise buildings.

Throwing on a blazer and heels, she hops in an Uber to her marble-floored office at an international tech firm.

Verma plays the ukulele inside her bedroom.
Verma plays the ukulele inside her bedroom. Noemi Cassanelli/CNN

Though the two women are separated by only a few years in age and a 20-minute drive, their starkly different lives illustrate India’s deepening wealth divide – and the inequality that has empowered some to reach new heights alongside the country’s fast-growing economy, while others are left behind.

That inequality has come under particular scrutiny during India’s election.

Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been credited with advancing India’s $3.7 trillion economy and bringing the country closer to becoming a global superpower, India remains a largely impoverished nation and its wealth gap is more unequal than it was during British rule.

Read the full story.

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