How evidence-based policymaking can help Nepal control air pollution

Air pollution is a silent, yet pervasive threat to human health, and its impact is felt acutely in regions like

In Nepal, why has implementing the diplomatic code of conduct become a tough job?

Kathmandu: Narayan Kaji Shrestha wears many hats. He is the leader from the ruling Maoist Center and he currently serves

Impact of economic tourism policies on local communities

Economic tourism policies, designed to attract visitors and boost local economies, are a double-edged sword. On one side, they can

Techno-Medusa: A modern myth for the posthuman era

The global push to grant artificial intelligence citizenship is gaining traction, proposing that AI should be endowed with rights to

Neprican voice: Love, life, nostalgia and the pursuit of an American dream

I just love the word Neprican. It perfectly describes my state of being even though it is a word that

India’s Modi readies for third term after securing coalition

NEW DELHI, June 6, 2024 (AFP) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was preparing Thursday to be sworn in for a third term after an unexpectedly close election that forced his party into a coalition government.

Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which ruled for the past decade with an outright majority, had been expecting another landslide win.

But results of the six-week election released Tuesday ran counter to exit polls, seeing the BJP lose its majority and sending it into quick-fire talks to lock in a 15-member coalition that would allow it to govern.

That grouping — the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) — announced late Wednesday that they had agreed to form a government.

“We all unanimously choose respected NDA leader Narendra Modi as our leader,” a BJP-issued alliance statement said.

The alliance holds 293 seats in parliament, giving it control of the 543-seat body.

Indian media reports said Modi would be sworn in as prime minister on Saturday.

Modi’s new reliance on “the minefield of coalition politics” means he faces the prospect of a far tougher-than-expected third term, the Hindustan Times warned in its Thursday editorial.

“Consensus building will have to be the bedrock of governance,” it added, noting the right-wing BJP will have to “recalibrate its expansion plans”.

‘New chapter of development’

While Modi faces a more complicated political environment at home, he won the plaudits of leaders around the world.

US President Joe Biden congratulated Modi on his coalition’s victory, and the State Department said the United States hoped to work with the Hindu nationalist leader on a “free and open” Asia.

“The friendship between our nations is only growing,” Biden wrote, while French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated his “dear friend”.

China congratulated Modi and said it was “ready to work” with its neighbour, while the coalition’s win was also applauded by Britain, the European Union, Japan and Russia.

Modi, 73, insisted on Tuesday night that the election results were a victory that ensured he would continue his agenda.

“Our third term will be one of big decisions and the country will write a new chapter of development,” Modi told a crowd of cheering supporters in the capital New Delhi after his win. “This is Modi’s guarantee.”

‘Play the coalition game’

Commentators and exit polls had projected an overwhelming victory for Modi, who critics have accused of leading the jailing of opposition figures and trampling on the rights of India’s 200-million-plus Muslim community.

But the BJP secured 240 seats in parliament, well down from the 303 it won five years ago and 32 short of a majority on its own.

The main opposition Congress party won 99 seats in a remarkable turnaround, almost doubling its 2019 tally of 52.

“Today’s masters are not as strong as they were,” Christophe Jaffrelot, a professor at King’s College London, wrote in The Hindu daily on Thursday.

“For the first time in his political career, Narendra Modi will have to play the coalition game.”

Congress party president Mallikarjun Kharge said the result was a vote against Modi “and the substance and style of his politics”.

“It is a huge political loss for him personally, apart from being a clear moral defeat as well,” he told party leaders at an opposition alliance meeting.

In a personal sting, Modi was re-elected to his constituency representing the Hindu holy city of Varanasi with a far lower margin of 152,300 votes. That compared with nearly half a million votes five years ago.

“Elections expressed a yearning for the defence of constitutional values and citizen dignity,” Ashutosh Varshney, a political scientist at Brown University, wrote in the Indian Express on Thursday.

Varshney argued Modi’s setback reflected concerns about what the “idea of India” meant to voters — against a backdrop of a “rise of animosities and polarisation in society, people’s concern about rights and the steeply rising inequalities”.