From the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal to the freezing of Congress party accounts, India saw one of the most contentious elections in recent memory. Spanning seven phases amidst searing heat and relentless campaign noise, this electoral process has not been without its controversies. Yet, as June 4 dawns, we must acknowledge the achievement of orchestrating an election in which 64 crore citizens cast their votes out of a voter population of 96 crore.

This election marks a historic first: a direct contest between the BJP-led NDA and the opposition coalition INDIA, spearheaded by the Congress. The campaign was rife with accusations, with the opposition decrying it as the murder of democracy while pledging to uphold the Indian constitution. The central question was: Modi versus who? Social media and its influencers played a larger role in this election than ever before.

Meanwhile, Nagaland also witnessed an unprecedented electoral battle tinged with religious undertones, as a large section of Nagas from Eastern Nagaland boycotted the polls. Almost zero percent of votes were recorded in the six districts of Eastern Nagaland.

Amid these unusual developments, Prime Minister Modi is vying for a third term, a victory that would place him alongside Jawaharlal Nehru in the annals of Indian political history. Meanwhile, the opposition hopes for a 2004-style upset, drawing on the unpredictability that often colors democratic exercises.

Exit polls have largely predicted a sweeping mandate for the NDA, forecasting a potential 360 to 390 seats, surpassing BJP’s 2019 tally of 303 seats. However, the opposition has uniformly rejected these predictions, alleging undue influence over the counting process. Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh has accused Home Minister Amit Shah of attempting to intimidate officials.

In Kerala, the stakes are particularly high. Exit polls indicate a potential gain for the BJP, a development that could shift the state’s political landscape. For the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), the Lok Sabha poll outcomes are critical. The LDF faces internal strife over corruption allegations, while the Congress tests its new leadership following a recent shake-up.

Should the BJP make inroads in Kerala, it could trigger a significant realignment, attracting members from both the Congress and the CPI(M). Such a shift could reshape the state’s political fabric .

Ultimately, the results will impact the strategic positioning of the INDIA bloc. Whether the BJP consolidates its power or the opposition mounts an unexpected comeback, the trajectory of Indian politics is set for a significant shift.

Amidst cynicism and controversy, it is essential to recognize the democratic spirit that drives this nation. Conducting an election of this magnitude without major disruption (barring isolated incidents) is a testament to India’s enduring commitment to democracy. As the votes are tallied, the world’s largest democracy once again stands at a crossroads, its future shaped by the collective will of its people.

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