Narendra Modi wins from Varanasi for the third consecutive time only to be the sitting PM with the 2nd highest dip in vote share

BJP leaders had made tall claims that Modi's victory margin would create a record, however, it was less than in 2019 and 2014.

ByMuhammed Fazil

Published Jun 06, 2024 | 2:46 PMUpdatedJun 06, 2024 | 3:28 PM

PM Modi says Congress PMs opposed reservation

The BJP’s Lok Sabha elections campaigns started with the slogan “Abki baar 400 paar”, meaning “Above 400 this time”, intending that the saffron party would win at least 400 seats in the lower House of the Parliament.

When the election results were declared on 4 June, not only did the BJP win anywhere near 400, but even the party-led alliance NDA only touched near 300.

Even though Narendra Modi, poised to become the prime minister for the third consecutive time, had a victory in the lone seat — Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh — he contested, it was a faded one.

BJP leaders had made tall claims that Modi’s victory margin would create a record, however, it was less than in 2019 and 2014.

He defeated Congress candidate Ajay Rai by a margin of 1,52,513. In the initial stages of counting, Modi was even trailing Ajay Rai by a margin of over 6,000 votes.

Even the BJP manifesto titled “Modi ki guarantee” could not fetch the party an absolute majority of 272 seats and won only 240, 63 less than the 2019 tally of 303.

The NDA bagged 293 seats and the Opposition INDIA bloc gained 234 seats with the Congress winning 99 and the Samajwadi party winning 37.

Also Read: Chandrababu Naidu wants ‘Vajpayee treatment’ from Narendra Modi for TDP

Earlier victories

In 2019, Modi’s victory margin was 4,79,505. He defeated SP’s Shalini Yadav while Congress’ Ajay Rai was in the third position.

In 2014, Modi won by a margin of 3,71,784 votes when he defeated AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal. Ajai Rai was in the third position then also.

It was the former BJP president Murli Manohar Joshi who represented the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency from 2009 to 2014, who defeated Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mukhtar Ansari by a margin of 17,211 votes.

In 2009, even though the UPA led by the Congress returned to power for the second consecutive time ended up in the fourth position in Varanasi, with the then-incumbent MP Rajesh Kumar Mishra gaining only around 10 percent of the total polled votes.

When Modi took over the reins of the constituency from Joshi, he emerged victorious by increasing the vote share of the BJP by a whopping 25.85 percent.

It further went up by 7.25 percent in 2019, only to see a fall of 9.34 percent in 2024.

Second highest dip in vote share among sitting PMs

Modi’s victory saw the second-highest dip in vote share among sitting prime ministers, only above Indira Gandhi in 1977 and below Chandra Shekhar in 1991.

In 1977, the-then prime minister Indira Gandhi of the Congress lost the election in Raebareli to Bharatiya Lok Dal candidate Raj Narain. Gandhi polled only 36.89 percent of the total polled votes while Nairain secured 53.51 percent.

In the 1971 election, before Gandhi declared the emergency in 1985, she had secured 66.35 percent of the total votes.

From the Ballia constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Chandra Shekhar had a vote share of 52.53 percent in the 1989 elections which went down to 46.52 in 1991.

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, even after his party lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, his vote share had increased by over 8 percent than that of 1999 from the Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

In 2019, the then-sitting prime minister Manmohan Singh did not contest the Lok Sabha elections.

 Also Read: Exit polls wrong and how! Closer look at misfires

Moral defeat says the Opposition

Following the mandate, leaders of the Opposition mandate cited the results and said it showed the “diminishing popularity” of the “brand Modi”.

Congress leaders including its president Mallikarjun Kharge and Karnataka Chief Minister termed the results a “moral defeat” for Modi and the saffron party.

“It is now clear that this mandate is against Modi ji. This is his political and moral defeat,” Kharge said.

“The BJP may be single largest party, but it has not got a simple majority. There was no Modi wave anywhere, which means that it is very clear that his popularity has diminished,” Siddaramaiah said.

Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut Modi should concede defeat as people “rejected his government”.

“We have stopped Narendra Modi in Maharashtra. Narendra Modi should concede defeat as people have rejected his government,” the Sena (UBT) leader said on 4 June.