Modi Wins 3rd Term in India Election With Closer Results Than Expected

Suddenly, the aura of invincibility around Narendra Modi has been shattered.

In an Indian election in which his party’s slogan had promised a landslide victory and Mr. Modi even repeatedly referred to himself as sent by God, the results announced on Tuesday were unexpectedly sobering.

Mr. Modi, 73, appeared to secure a third consecutive term as prime minister, a feat that only one other Indian leader has accomplished, and his Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., gained far more seats than any other party.

But instead of a runaway win, the B.J.P. lost dozens of seats. It now finds itself at the mercy of coalition partners — including one politician notorious for how often he has switched sides — to stay in power, a sharp reversal a decade into Mr. Modi’s transformational tenure.

As the results came into view, the country’s stock markets plunged. Opposition parties, newly unified in what they had called an effort to save the country’s democracy, rejoiced. And India, while extending Mr. Modi’s firm hold on power, learned that there are limits to his political potency, even as he made the election, usually fought seat by seat, squarely about himself.

Mr. Modi took a more positive view in a statement on X declaring that his coalition had won a third term. “This is a historical feat in India’s history,” he said.