16 May 2014

Modi’s landslide poll win marks seismic shift for India

Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi sweeps to power in India’s elections in a result that is a personal triumph for Mr Modi – and a disaster for the Gandhi dynasty that has dominated Indian politics.

Victory celebrations have begun in India for supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who are on track to win 327 seats in an emphatic victory that would be India’s most decisive election victory in 30 years.

The BJP’s leader Narendra Modi was buoyant, proclaiming that “India has won” in a tweet that instantly set a record as the country’s most retweeted Twitter post.

Election returns suggest that the pro-business leader Modi will be handed a clear mandate to fulfil his agenda of creating jobs and reviving economic growth. Betting on a Modi victory, foreign investors have poured more than $16bn into Indian stocks and bonds in the past six months.

Bleak outlook

BJP supporters set off fireworks outside the party’s headquarters in New Delhi as it was announced that their leader Narendra Modi was ahead in both seats he is contesting, in his home state of Gujarat and in the holy Hindu city of Varanasi.

Software engineer Vinod Rai was amongst the celebrations, saying: “I’m so happy because all of India wanted a strong government.”

This looks set to be a crushing defeat for Rahul Gandhi’s ruling Congress party alliance who, according to NDTV news, are ahead in just 67 seats. The mood was sombre outside the headquarters of the Congress party. Abhishek Manu, a Congress leader, said that he would wait for the final results, but confessed that “it looks pretty bleak at the moment.”

A heavy defeat for Rahul Gandhi, the great grandson of India’s independence leader, would cast the political future of the Gandhi family into doubt after spending a century at the forefront of Indian politics.