Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP has won or is leading in 303 of 543 seats up for grabs in India's general election — a whopping 6 times more than the largest opposition party, Congress.

Expand chart
Data: Election Commission of India; Note: Vellore, Tamil Nadu did not vote; Map: Harry Stevens/Axios

Why it matters: This is a landslide of staggering proportions. It earns Modi another 5 years in office and establishes him as India's most powerful politician in decades.

  • Congress, the party of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, led India for all but 12 years between 1947 and 2014. It's now fading into the electoral wilderness while Modi remakes Indian politics in his image.
  • The massive election — with 900 million eligible voters and 1 million polling places — unfolded over five weeks, with results tallied today.

Flashback: Modi campaigned in 2014 as the man to invigorate India's economy. The results there have been mixed: Growth is solid, but unemployment has ticked upwards and rural India has struggled on Modi's watch.

  • This time around, he whipped up nationalist fervor and capitalized politically on February's nuclear standoff with Pakistan.
  • "In speeches over recent weeks, one count showed he spent 53% of his time attacking opponents, a further 18% talking of national security, and only the remainder touting vikas, or development," per the Economist.

Modi did make good on another campaign promise to expand India's presence on the world stage.

  • Not since Nehru's era "has India been so engaged in such a wide range of global issues" driven by "the sheer personality of the prime minister himself," argues the Carnegie Endowment's Ashley Tellis.
  • Tellis contends that while Modi has strengthened ties with countries around the world, India won't "realize its great power ambitions" unless he carries out economic reforms at home, strengthens institutions and protects "the nation's internal cohesion."

Modi's victory is a source of joy for his Hindu nationalist base and of fear for many in India's Muslim minority.

  • "A strident — and at times violent — Hindu nationalism has become mainstream in the past five years, with increased attacks against minorities, including the lynching of dozens of Muslims accused of smuggling cows," BBC notes.

The bottom line: "There is no doubt that Modi's politics rest on polarizing the country, but he has polarized very successfully," as Axios fellow Phanindra Dahal pithily puts it.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.