Indian Christians Relieved as Election Results Limit Hindu Nationalists

With Modi’s BJP denied an outright majority in parliament, church leaders credit prayer movements and hope the restoration of coalition politics will protect religious minorities.

The world’s largest democracy underwent a significant political shift in its 2024 general election, as Indian voters upended the previously unshakable dominance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) remains the largest coalition and will form India’s next government, likely making Modi the first Indian head of state to serve three terms since Jawaharlal Nehru led the subcontinent’s initial post-independence government. But as the official vote counting stretched past midnight on June 4, results indicated that voters rejected Modi’s aspirations for an overwhelming majority that many feared would have empowered him to reshape India’s secular and democratic foundations.

Christians and other religious minorities rallied for the cause of pluralism.

“The people have spoken clearly for a return to the founding ideals of India,” said Vijayesh Lal, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI). “They prefer harmony over narrow sectarianism and divisive politics.”

Running a populist campaign of Hindu nationalism, in 2014 Modi led the BJP to a landslide victory, securing the first outright majority for a single party in 30 years with 282 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament. His mandate was strengthened in 2019 when the BJP increased its tally to 303 seats.

Having won political control over the federal legislature and many regional states, Modi seemed invincible heading into 2024. Many critics worried that India’s multi-party democracy was sliding towards authoritarianism.

Opposition leaders claim the results of the 2024 election “shattered …

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