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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | US, UN wait, neighbours, Italy, Singapore congratulate Modi

The leaders of Bhutan, Mauritius, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives congratulated the prime minister after the NDA, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, scored more than the seats it required to have the majority in the Lok Sabha.
nirban Bhaumik
Last Updated : 05 June 2024, 07:40 IST
Last Updated : 05 June 2024, 07:40 IST

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New Delhi: The United States chose to wait till the “finalisation” of the results”, but the leaders of several neighbouring countries congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he claimed victory for the National Democratic Alliance led by his Bharatiya Janata Party in the parliamentary elections in India.

The leaders of Bhutan, Mauritius, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives congratulated the prime minister after the NDA, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, scored more than the seats it required to have the majority in the Lok Sabha. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy was the first leader of the West to congratulate him. The United Nations Secretary-General also chose to wait till the end of the counting.

Modi also received congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Lawrence Wong of Singapore. The leaders of Jamaica, Barbados, and Myanmar also sent similar messages.

“So, first of all, our understanding is that the election results have not been finalized, so we will wait for the finalization of those election results before we offer any definitive comment. I’m also not going to comment on winners and losers in an election, as is our case around the world,” Matthew Miller, the spokesperson of the US State Department, said in Washington DC. He was responding to a query from a journalist about the US position on the results of the parliamentary polls in India.

President Joe Biden’s administration in Washington DC had prodded New Delhi ahead of the parliamentary polls to ensure fair legal processes, not only for the incarcerated Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal but also in the case of freezing of bank accounts of the opposition Congress. The Modi Government in New Delhi had strongly reacted to it, summoned the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US embassy in New Delhi to the South Block in Raisina Hill, and conveyed to her its “strong objection” over the remark of a spokesperson of the American State Department on the arrest of Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate.

Russia had early last month accused the US of interfering in the elections in India. The US had immediately dismissed the allegation.

“So, we always will express our views clearly and openly. We express them with foreign governments privately, and when we see – have things that we are concerned about, we also express them publicly, including from this podium. That’s what I’ve done. But that in no way is an attempt to influence an election in India or anywhere else,” Miller said in Washington DC on Tuesday. He was replying to a question on External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s allegation about attempts from the West to interfere in the elections in India.

The Biden Administration has been subtly conveying to the Modi Government in New Delhi its concerns over the perception in the US about the backsliding of democracy in India. The US State Department’s annual reports on religious freedom have been referring to the alleged incidents of atrocities and violence against minority communities in India. Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken in 2021 said that the US was “monitoring some recent concerning developments in India, including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police, and prison officials”. He also stated that India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, had seen rising attacks on people and places of worship.

Modi’s spectacular state visit to Washington DC and his meetings with Biden on June 22 last year had come under a bit of a shadow as 75 Democrat members of the American Congress wrote to the US president requesting him to convey concerns over reports of growing religious intolerance, shrinking of political space, curbs on freedom of the press and erosion of human rights in India. At least six US lawmakers had also boycotted the prime minister’s address to a joint sitting of the US Congress – alleging repression of religious minorities during his tenure at the top office in New Delhi. Even as Biden hosted Modi at the White House in Washington DC, former US President Barack Obama told CNN that if the rights of the minority Muslims in India were not protected, the country might someday start to pull apart. He had even suggested that the issue of protection of minority Muslims in Hindu-majority India was worth mentioning if the president of the US had a meeting with the prime minister of India.

Though Modi’s landmark visit to the White House and his meeting with Biden added new momentum to India-US relations, it again came under the shadow after the US accused an official of the Government of India of being involved in a plot to assassinate Khalistani Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.in New York.

The US, however, on Tuesday lauded the conduct of elections in India.

“What is important for us and what we have seen over the past six weeks is the largest exercise of democracy in history as the Indian people came to the polls. And, on behalf of the United States, we want to commend the Government of India and voters there for successfully completing and participating in such a massive electoral undertaking, and we look forward to seeing the final results,” Miller, the spokesperson of the US State Department, said.

“Congratulations Prime Minister Modi Ji @narendramodi on your laudable victory for a historic third term. Under your helm, the largest democracy will continue to achieve remarkable progress,” Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth posted on X. “Long live the Mauritius-India special relationship.”

Modi also received a congratulatory message from Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, a.k.a. Prachanda. “Congratulations to PM @narendramodi on the electoral success of the BJP and the NDA in the Lok Sabha elections for the third consecutive term,” Dahal posted on X. “We are happy to note the successful completion of the world’s largest democratic exercise with the enthusiastic participation of the people of India.”

The prime minister received a congratulatory letter from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh.

“I extend my warmest felicitations to the @BJP4India led NDA on its victory, demonstrating the confidence of the Indian people in the progress and prosperity under the leadership of PM @narendramodi,”: Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe posted on X. “As the closest neighbour Sri Lanka looks forward to further strengthening the partnership with India.”

A spokesperson of the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, however, turned down a request for comment. “We can't comment before all the counting is done, but congratulations to the people of India for the massive exercise of democracy,” she said.

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Published 05 June 2024, 07:40 IST

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