Pakistani Urdu Media’s Coverage of India’s 18th Lok Sabha Elections Results

India Election Result


The aim of the piece is to acquaint the reader with the thought process amongst commentators in Pakistani vernacular media regarding the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections in India (conducted in April-June 2024).

It is noticed that the commentators were largely critical of the Indian government’s approach towards Pakistan and minorities in India and hailed the results as indicative of popular disapproval of the government’s policies. While there was a grudging appreciation of the democratic process in India, it was accompanied by a sense of pessimism that the new government, led by Narendra Modi would not invest in good bilateral relations with Pakistan.

The marathon seven-phase election for the 543 seats of Lok Sabha, India's lower house of parliament, concluded on 4 June 2024. The results marked a significant shift as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) failed to secure a parliamentary majority for the first time in a decade. Over the course of this multi-phase election, an astonishing 642 million1 people (out of 968.8 million electors registered across the country) exercised their voting rights in what stands as the largest democratic event globally.

In India's parliamentary framework, a minimum of 272 seats in the Lok Sabha is necessary for a party to command a majority and form a government. In the 2019 election, the BJP secured 303 seats on its own, well ahead of the halfway mark. However, in the recent election, their tally was limited to 240 seats, falling short of the halfway mark needed for a clear majority in the lower house. Even if the BJP has been leading the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government since 2014, it could form a government all by itself and was not dependent on its alliance partners in the last two elections (2014 & 2019). However, this time round, while NDA secured a majority in the house, BJP lost its majority in the house.

Having held sway over the Indian parliament for a decade, the BJP now finds itself in a position where it requires coalition partners to secure the majority necessary to form government. Notably, in this election, the primary opposition party, Congress, along with its regional allies, registered a strong performance. The Congress-led I.N.D.I.A. (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) clinched 234 seats in parliament.

Reaction to the results

The excitement surrounding the Indian elections was noticed around the world, grabbing the attention of global media outlets. Enthusiasm spread among international observers, emphasizing the importance of this unique democratic spectacle. The event received extensive coverage from major news networks to niche publications, highlighting its significance on the global stage.

Like the rest of the world, the Pakistani media, in general, and the Urdu print media in particular, closely monitored the entire electoral process from its inception till the announcement of the final results.

Throughout the election period, Urdu newspapers throughout Pakistan published editorials and opinion pieces voicing apprehensions regarding the state of the Indian Muslims and their future in India, as well as the state of India-Pakistan relations should Narendra Modi secure a third term as Prime Minister.

Many op-eds and editorials expressed the view that the relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours were unlikely to improve if Prime Minister Narendra Modi were to serve another term. Some of these pieces emphasized that the "Hindutva" ideology of the Modi government was the primary barrier to normalizing the relationship between the two countries.

An editorial in The Roznama92 News argued that the Modi government views strained relations with Pakistan and its hardline stance on Kashmir as advantageous for fostering polarization. The editorial went on to say, “Modi would not talk about the Kashmir dispute, restore relations with Pakistan, improve bilateral trade, people-to-people contacts, exchange of sports and cultural delegations and improve diplomatic relations. These are achievements in the eyes of his extremist politics.” (Modi Kashmir ke tanaza' par baat cheet, Pakistan ke sath talluqat ki bahali, do tarafah tijarat, awami rabtay, khelon o saqafati wafud ke tabadlay aur safarati talluqat mein behtari ki taraf nahi ja sakte. Yeh unki inteha pasandana siyasi nazar mein kamiyabiyan hain). 2

When the Election Commission of India declared the election results, Pakistani Urdu media unanimously called it a defeat for Narendra Modi and his Hindutva ideology. Roznama Jasarat, an Urdu daily affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami, called it a historic election for the region in its editorial. The editorial highlighted that Narendra Modi's entire election campaign revolved around the Ram Mandir, anti-Muslim sentiments, and anti-Pakistan rhetoric. Despite this, it said, the BJP failed to secure a comfortable majority. The editorial posited that it would be interesting to see whether this defeat would prompt the BJP to introspect its policies or continue down the same path. In the same issue, a regular contributor, Qazi Javed, penned a column titled "Modi Hindutva bu’t ko Bhartiya Awam ka Intekhabi Tamacha" (Indian people's election slap to Modi's Hindutva agenda).3 He argued that the Indian people have shattered Modi's Hindutva dream through their voting power, for which they deserve congratulations.

Roznama Jang, one of the oldest Urdu newspapers in Pakistan, wrote that the results of the general elections in India have signalled the failure of Narendra Modi's slogan of "Ab ki baar, 400 paar" (This time, above 400). It further stated that the results marked a return to secular politics in India and that Modi’s defeat would bring some relief to Indian minorities and the Kashmiris who have endured hardship for the past decade. One of the Jang columnists, S.A Zahid, argued in his column that the BJP’s dictatorial policies, such as the abolition of Article 370 in” occupied Kashmir”, the Hindutva ideology, and support for the killing of Muslims in Palestine, are not only rejected by the Muslims of India in general or the Kashmiri Muslims in particular but by a large number of non-Muslim Indian people as well. He emphasises that the results were a personal defeat for Narendra Modi.4

Another Urdu daily, Nawa-e-Waqt wrote in its editorial titled “Bharati Intekhabat! Modi ka Hindutwa ka tilism toot gaya “(Indian elections! Modi's Hindutva spell shattered)5  that the election results served as a warning for those who sought to replace a secular India with an oppressive state driven by Hindutva. Progressive Hindus, along with Indian Muslims, have taught Modi a lesson that the anti-Muslim or anti-Pakistan narrative will not garner votes for him in the future.

In Roznama Dunya, Dr. Rasheed Ahmad Khan wrote that the recent election results have revealed that even eighty percent of the Hindu population in India did not want politics based on enmity and hostilities between communities. The results have proven that if Muslims, Dalits, and other communities unite, they can decisively defeat Hindutva or any other form of extremist politics in India.6 He argued that the rise of the Congress party as a significant force in Indian politics would reduce the prevalent anti-Pakistan agenda of the BJP and end the existing deadlock in India-Pakistan relations because the Congress and its allies strongly opposed the unilateral abolition of Article 370 in an illegal manner in 2019 by the BJP.

The Roznama92 News in its editorial titled “Lok Sabha intekhabat: Modi Bayania Kamzor par gaya” (Lok Sabha elections: Modi narrative proved weak) raised concern over the dwindling Muslim representation in the Indian parliament.7 It emphasized that there has been no improvement in the representation of Muslims in the Indian parliament compared to the previous term.

In the same edition of Roznama92 News, Dr. Jamsajjad Hussain argued in his column that “the recent election results have proven that the future of India very much depends on the secular fabric of the country. The moment it loses this fabric, it will either break into pieces or lose its credibility among people” (Is election mein yeh baat khul kar samne aayi hai ke Bharat ka wujood tab tak qayem reh sakta hai jab tak yeh secular nazriye ka hamil rahega. Jis din 'Hindutva' ka nazriya buzoor-e-shamsheer lagoo karne ki koshish ki gayi ya to Bharat toot jaayega ya phir woh Jamaat Awam ki nazron mein gir jaayegi).8

In the Roznama Express, Zamurud Naqvi emphasised the significance of the Indian election results for the region, particularly for Pakistan, which is grappling with severe political and economic turmoil. Naqvi viewed Modi's failure to secure a two-thirds majority in the parliament as a 'blessing in disguise' for Pakistan. Otherwise, he argued, it could have posed a significant threat to Pakistan and the region. Naqvi wrote that a coalition-dependent government would be forced to take a more flexible approach to critical issues, including Kashmir.9

In Roznama Ausaf, M. M. Adeeb said that Modi's downfall stemmed from his arrogance and overconfidence.10 Despite his belief that he had the entire country under his control, Adeeb suggested that reality proved otherwise, likening Modi's grip on power to ‘sand slipping through his fingers’. Furthermore, Adeeb noted that even his assertion of being an incarnation of God failed to shield him from his defeat.


In the initial stages of the Indian elections, Pakistani Urdu print media highlighted the plights of the minorities in India and the potential for regional tensions in India-Pakistan relations if Prime Minister Modi secured a third term. However, as the results revealed, the BJP's failure to secure an absolute majority and India's transition to another era of coalition politics, they expressed a sense of relief. Many Urdu newspapers contended that the new coalition government in India could pave the way for positive regional engagement.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the Journal subscribes to the views of the Pakistani commentators being culled out in this piece from Pakistani media.

*Afroz Khan is associated with the Pakistan Project at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA), New Delhi. He is also a life member at the International Centre for Peace Studies, New Delhi, India.


1. Sreeparna Chakrabarty, 65.79% turnout in 2024 Lok Sabha polls, says Election Commission, The Hindu, 7 June 2024.

2. “Modi Iqtedar ka Tasalsool: Mussalmanon ke Tahfuzaat” (Continuation of Modi in Power: Concerns of the Muslims). Editorial, Roznama92News,11 June 2024      

3. "Modi Hindutva bu’t ko Bhartiya Awam ka Intekhabi Tamacha" (Indian people's election slap to Modi's Hindutva agenda), Roznama Jasarat, 6 June 2024

4. S.A. Zahid, “Aur Modi Haar Gaya!” (And Modi Lost!), Roznama Jang, 6 June 2024

5. “Bharati Intekhabat! Modi ka Hindutva ka Tilism toot gaya “(Indian elections! Modi's Hindutva spell shattered) Editorial, Nawa-e-Waqt, 6 June 2024  

6. Dr. Rasheed Ahmad Khan, “Bhartiya Intekhabaat: Jeet Me Haar” (Indian Elections: Defeat in Victory) Roznama Dunya, 6 June 2024

7. “Lok Sabha Intekhabat: Modi Bayania Kamzor par gaya” (Lok Sabha elections: Modi narrative proved weak), Editorial, Roznama92 News, 6 June 2024

8. Dr. Jam Sajjad Hussain, “Secular Bharat Ka Nazariya Jeet Gaya! “(The idea of ​​secular India won!) Roznama92 News,6 June 2024.

9. Zamurud Naqvi, “Bhartiya Intekhabat” (Indian Elections), Roznama Express, 10 June 2024.

10 M. M. Adeeb, “Indian Election Aur Hamara Jeena Marna” (Indian Elections and our survival) Roznama Ausaf, 7 June 2024.