Indian opposition party heads for landslide win

Comment: Off

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and India’s next prime minister Narendra Modi greets the gathering at the home of his 90-year-old mother in Gandhinagar, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Friday, May 16, 2014. The top official in Gujarat state for over a decade, Modi often contrasted his humble roots with the posh background of his main rival, 43-year-old Rahul Gandhi, heir to India’s most powerful political dynasty. As the career politician led his party through a dazzling, high-tech election campaign, Modi called voters’ attention to his mother riding a three-wheeled auto-rickshaw to cast her ballot earlier this month. “I am the chief minister of a prosperous state … And my 90-year-old mother goes to vote in an auto-rickshaw,” the white-bearded Modi boasted, punching a fist through the air as he claimed his place by India’s poor masses. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and India’s next prime minister Narendra Modi greets the gathering at the home of his 90-year-old mother in Gandhinagar, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Friday, May 16, 2014. The top official in Gujarat state for over a decade, Modi often contrasted his humble roots with the posh background of his main rival, 43-year-old Rahul Gandhi, heir to India’s most powerful political dynasty. As the career politician led his party through a dazzling, high-tech election campaign, Modi called voters’ attention to his mother riding a three-wheeled auto-rickshaw to cast her ballot earlier this month. “I am the chief minister of a prosperous state … And my 90-year-old mother goes to vote in an auto-rickshaw,” the white-bearded Modi boasted, punching a fist through the air as he claimed his place by India’s poor masses. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

90-year-old Hiraben blesses her son and India’s next prime minister Narendra Modi at her home in Gandhinagar, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Friday, May 16, 2014. The top official in Gujarat state for over a decade, Modi often contrasted his humble roots with the posh background of his main rival, 43-year-old Rahul Gandhi, heir to India’s most powerful political dynasty. As the career politician led his party through a dazzling, high-tech election campaign, Modi called voters’ attention to his mother riding a three-wheeled auto-rickshaw to cast her ballot earlier this month. “I am the chief minister of a prosperous state … And my 90-year-old mother goes to vote in an auto-rickshaw,” the white-bearded Modi boasted, punching a fist through the air as he claimed his place by India’s poor masses. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter wears a mask Narendra Modi, India’s next prime minister, and celebrates after preliminary results showed the BJP winning by a landslide, outside the party headquarter in New Delhi, India, Friday, May 16, 2014. The BJP now has a decisive lead for 272 seats in the lower house of Parliament, the majority needed to create an independent government without forming a coalition with smaller parties. At BJP headquarters in New Delhi, workers were handing out sweets, setting off firecrackers and dancing outside in the streets. (AP Photo /Manish Swarup)

Indians walk past a bus with a photograph of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as the same is prepared for celebrations anticipating his election victory in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Official results are expected on Friday, but exit polls by at least six major Indian TV stations show the BJP is likely to win enough seats to form a coalition government. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Indian policemen on duty watch election results on television at a counting station in New Delhi, India, Friday, May 16, 2014. India’s main Hindu nationalist party was making early gains Friday as officials began counting votes following the country’s massive national election, with the opposition looking to end the ruling Congress party’s decade-long reign. The Election Commission was expected to announce the results later in the day. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

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 Friday.

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 center 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

Comments

comments

About the Author