Landslide for Indian opposition party
NEW DELHI (AP) — Opposition leader Narendra Modi will be India’s next prime minister, winning the most decisive election victory the country has seen in more than a quarter century and sweeping the long-dominant Congress party from power, partial results showed today.
Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party was winning in 279 seats in the lower house of Parliament, beyond the 272-seat majority needed to create a government without forming a coalition with smaller parties, the Election Commission said.
Full results were expected later in the day but it was unlikely there would be a significant reversal.
The outcome was a crushing defeat for the Congress party, which is deeply entwined with the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty that has been at the centre of Indian politics for most of the country’s post-independence history.
“India has won!” Modi tweeted with a note of triumph after a slick and well-financed campaign that promised a revival of economic growth and took advantage of widespread dissatisfaction with the scandal-plagued Congress party.
At BJP headquarters in New Delhi, party workers handed out sweets, set off firecrackers and danced in the streets.
In Gujarat state, where Modi has been chief minister for more than a decade, jubilant supporters and a frenzied media surrounded Modi as he visited his mother and touched her feet, a traditional gesture when Hindus seek the blessings of an older relative.
His mother then marked his forehead with vermilion and fed him sweets.
The last time any single party won a majority in India was in 1984, when an emotional nation gave the Congress party a staggering victory of more than 400 seats following the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The overwhelming victory gives Modi, a 63-year-old career politician, a strong mandate to govern India at a time of deep social and economic change. India is in the throes of rapid urbanization and globalization just as the youth population skyrockets – with many new voters far less deferential to traditional voting patterns focused on family lineage and caste.
For the young Indian voters, the priorities are jobs and development, which Modi put at the forefront of his campaign.