India’s Modi’s Dream of 400-Seat Victory in Peril

Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, has professed for months now that he would return to power in his country with a majority that is even bigger than it was during the last elections five years ago.

The marathon elections began back in April, but now, with only about two weeks left before the results are announced, it’s not as certain of a future for India’s very popular leader.

Modi initially had a target of capturing more than 400 seats for his group, known as the Bharatiya Janata Party, which he emblazoned on different campaign posters while also frequently plugging the goal during campaign speeches.

But, according to analysts, members of opposition parties and even insiders from within his own party are saying the “Modi wave” that occurred in 2019 isn’t likely to repeat itself this year.

Following the first phase of India’s voting, Modi’s words took a decidedly different tone. He began to increase attacks on the welfare politics of his main opposition group and even started to use anti-Muslim language.

That being said, over the six weeks of voting that take place in the country, no results are allowed to be published. This means that all of this is pure speculation, even if it is grounded in what top officials are hearing.

Modi’s main opposition group, called the Indian National Congress, believes that it will capture anywhere from 90 to 110 seats in India’s government. That would be a sizeable increase from the 52 it earned during the 2019 elections.

Those estimates were provided to Bloomberg by a senior leader in the party, and were based on internal polling data.

At the same time, three different officials from the BJP from the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh states in the country have also said they don’t believe that the party will be able to match the success it had in 2019. But, even still, the officials expect that their party will control a majority of parliament’s seats.

A spokesman for the party, Nalin Kohli, said that there isn’t any reason why the BJP as well as their allies wouldn’t increase the results significantly from 2019, as the party has performed quite well under Modi’s leadership.

The uncertainty surrounding the outcome of India’s elections has actually reverberated through financial markets, which have experienced significant volatility over the last few weeks.

The India VIX Index, which is basically a gauge of swings in the market measured over the next 30 days, increased by more than two times from its low mark back in April. In other words, there’s expected to be big swings because of the uncertainty of the elections.

In May, foreigners also pulled out $3.5 billion from local shares, but outside investors may be sending signs that the bearish view on India’s market is coming to a close.

Equities in the country reached a record high last Thursday following the country’s central bank paying a generous dividend to the government, as well as Modi saying he expects an “historic mandate” coming in the future.