Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balances

Who would've thought that a government coursing through an economy growing at 8.2 percent would have to buckle to an electoral reverse? As capricious as the Indian monsoon, the Indian voter collective has delivered its verdict in Lok Sabha polls 2024, tossing up surprises that have made a laugh riot out of far-off-the-mark exit pollsters. The message: Local livelihood concerns and food inflation are paramount, not communally coded messaging or pan-national issues

Published: Jun 6, 2024 05:43:42 PM IST
Updated: Jun 6, 2024 08:28:22 PM IST

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Sanchit Khanna/HT via Getty Images
Narendra Modi is felicitated by his aides JP Nadda, Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah during a celebration at BJP HQ in Delhi. Falling short of BJP's magic mark hasn't denied Modi the big seat, set to take over as Prime Minister for the third time in a row. He will not only have to depend on ambitious allies to form the government but also carefully consider their views before making policy decisions.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Deepak Gupta/HT via Getty Images
Rahul Gandhi (left) and Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party during a joint rally of the INDIA alliance in Kannauj. Gandhi talked the walk—after his two Bharat Jodo Yatras' emphasis on the concerns of ordinary voters—with a national coalition and plumped for big compromises in seat-sharing. This strategy has helped establish the INDIA bloc as a robust opposition this time.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Samir Jana/HT via Getty Images
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee holds a kid after Eid-ul-Fitr prayers in Kolkata. 'Didi' Banerjee held her ground as her party, TMC in West Bengal—and Samajwadi Party in UP—were powered to wins by the Muslim vote, in coalition with backward castes and Dalits.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balances Image: Dipa Chakraborty / Eyepix /Future Publishing via Getty Images
BJP's biggest victory outside its strongholds is in Odisha, uprooting its unbeatable Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik (centre), ending his 24-year reign in Odisha. People, strangely, didn't endorse Naveen's populist measures like cash incentives for farmers, youth and women, nor his attempt to instal VK Pandian (right), a Tamil Nadu-born IAS officer turned BJD politician, as his successor.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters
Considered one of the pioneers of IT in India, the tech-savvy administrator and reformer N Chandrababu Naidu has made a dramatic comeback in Andhra Pradesh with his TDP-led alliance. Will his vision of a greenfield world-class capital city for AP in Amaravati come to pass?

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Santosh Kumar/HT via Getty Images
Bihar Chief Minister and JDU national president Nitish Kumar's (right) switch-side hitting has been validated by the state's voters. His victorious mandate gives him leverage to push for demands like a special category status for Bihar that will buckle the Centre.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Ritesh Shukla/Getty Images
Devotees line up for a darshan of Ram a day after the consecration ceremony of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Barely four months after the inauguration of the Ram Temple, the Gods have turned, causing the BJP to cede not only the Faizabad seat to SP but also four other seats in the Ayodhya division.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: AFP
A candlelight vigil in Imphal was held to honour those who lost their lives in the ethnic clashes in India's Manipur state. In a violence-scarred Manipur, the warring groups, Kukis in the hills and Meiteis in the valley have both voted for the Congress. The state marked a full year since ethnic clashes first began, killing over 200 people and displacing over 50,000. Both groups have widespread resentment against the Centre's and the State's handling of the conflict.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Sanjeev Verma/HT via Getty Images
In a closely fought contest in Kerala, the flag bearer of literary solipsism, Shashi Tharoor (centre, with AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge on his right), has won over Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the diviner of India's tech and entrepreneurial future, by a slender margin. Thirteen Union ministers have lost in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Arvind Yadav/HT via Getty Images
However, the BJP scripted history in Kerala by winning its first-ever Lok Sabha seat in the Thrissur district, a victory wrestled by movie star Suresh Gopi (left) from his relentless vote outreach programmes.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Money Sharma / AFP
Aazad Samaj Party chief Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan projects himself as the new-age Dalit icon. He has won in UP's Nagina by over 1.5 lakh votes, taking a new turn after the meltdown of the Bahujan Samaj party in the past decade.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Sameer Sehgal/HT via Getty Images
Jail is no bar for these candidates! Standing independently, jailed pro-Khalistan, Waris Punjab De preacher Amritpal Singh (centre) wins in Khadoor Sahib, Punjab and Awami Ittehad Party leader Engineer Rashid, jailed under UAPA, defeats Omar Abdullah in Baramulla, J&K. As parliamentarians, the duo will have to take the oath, for which they may get parole for a day.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Sanjeev Verma/HT via Getty Images
But the 'Jail Ka Jawab Vote Se' campaign hasn't worked with Arvind Kejriwal—jailed in connection with alleged corruption in the awarding of liquor licences—who will have to mull over AAP's failure to win even a single seat in Delhi and its poor showing in Punjab.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Gagan Nayar / AFP
The BJP in Madhya Pradesh, led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan (left) and CM Mohan Yadav, made a clean sweep of all 29 seats, strengthening its hold over tribal-dominated seats with the help of its welfare outreach schemes. The BJP also played the identity politics card, celebrating tribal icons and renaming important infrastructure and universities after them.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Riya Mariyam Raju / Reuters
Playing the last sentinel against the saffron surge, the DMK, led by MK Stalin (seen in the poster above held by a party worker), won all the seats in Tamil Nadu. This resulted from the government's careful consideration of caste dynamics and a big welfare push.' The BJP's plan to change the Constitution and its hate campaign failed to cut ice with people,' Stalin was quoted as saying.  

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Francis Mascarenhas / Reuters
83-year-old Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar, dispossessed of his party name and symbol by his nephew Ajit and ridiculed during his campaign, enjoys nothing more than a tough challenge. He staged a comeback with his NCP (SP) party, winning 8 out of the 10 seats they contested, the best strike rate for the party since its formation.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election: A mandate for accountability and better checks and balancesImage: Birbal Sharma/HT via Getty Images
Women voters played a significant role in movie star and BJP debutant Kangana Ranaut's win over royal scion Vikramaditya Singh. EC data showed women voters outnumbering men in the booths, rooting for a woman who portrayed herself as 'a daughter of Mandi'. "I look forward to being a worthy karyakarta and a reliable public servant. Thanks." reads her Instagram post.