News / Asia

Modi's Landslide Win in India Spurs Hope for Major Revival

An illumination in the shape of a lotus, party symbol of the winning Bharatiya Janata Party, illuminates the River Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 16, 2014.
An illumination in the shape of a lotus, party symbol of the winning Bharatiya Janata Party, illuminates the River Ganges in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 16, 2014.
Anjana Pasricha
The leader of India's Bharatiya Janata Party, Narendra Modi, claimed victory Friday as the right-wing Hindu nationalist party headed for the country's biggest election victory in the last 30 years.

With the ruling Congress Party conceding defeat, Modi is poised to take charge of the world’s largest democracy as the Bharatiya Janata Party returns to its leadership role after 10 years.

At a news conference, party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul - who led campaigning - personally took responsibility for the loss.

The Congress party was hit by a series of high-profile corruption scandals, high inflation and lagging economic growth.

The five-week election wrapped up Monday, with the final polls closing in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and the eastern states of West Bengal and Bihar. Early results show the BJP winning the first one-party parliamentary majority in 30 years. That would mean it could create a government without forming a coalition with regional leaders.

Watch related video report from VOA's Steve Herman in New Delhi:
Historic Rout in India Comes With Opposition's Victoryi
Steve Herman
May 17, 2014 2:31 AM
India’s opposition party has won a resounding mandate in the country’s general election, capturing a majority, on its own, of more than 280 of the 543 seats in the lower house of parliament. The outcome after a six-week election marks a historic loss for India’s original political party. The world’s largest democracy will have a new prime minister for the first time in a decade, able to form a government without relying on regional coalition partners. VOA's Steve Herman reports from New Delhi.

In preliminary results, the United Progressive Alliance led by the Gandhi family's Congress party, which has ruled India for the last decade, was leading in just 67 seats, its worst showing ever.
BJP supporters celebrate

Outside the BJP headquarters here, the street resembled a carnival. Jubilant supporters danced, set off firecrackers and distributed sweets.
Modi, the future prime minister, tweeted, “India has won. Good times ahead.”

That was the centerpiece of the regional leader’s appeal to the country. Modi, who has headed western Gujarat state, led an unprecedented presidential-style campaign and won over voters with his mantra of development, strong leadership and cleaner government.
Rajnath Singh, BJP president, called the vote the beginning of a new era. He said all sections of society had supported the party’s positive agenda.   
“It is people’s mandate for change,” Singh said.  “Time(s) has now come to rewrite the Indian success story.”
The scale of the victory gives India a strong government with a clear parliamentary majority, ending the dependency of successive coalition governments on regional allies. Stock markets soared at the prospect of stability and a business-friendly administration.  
In a country restless for economic revival and better governance, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad says economic growth will be his party’s first priority. 
“I have rarely seen this overwhelming desire for change in the persona of Narendra Modi,” Prasad said. “… The first thing would be to restore people’s confidence in the economy by better governance.” 
A return to power

It will be the BJP’s second stint in office; the party was voted out after six years in office in 2004. But with a majority in parliament, and the Congress Party decimated, it comes to office with greater strength.
Political observers attribute BJP’s victory to two factors: the hope of better times, which Modi has generated, and a strong desire for change from Congress rule, which was tainted by corruption, rising prices and a weakening economy.
Voters believed Modi offered a change, said Sanjay Kumar, a professor at the Center for Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi.
“People had an image or kind of faith that this is a man who can do development, this is a man who has a vision, who is a strong ruler … but clearly the ground was laid by the misgovernance of the Congress in the last three years,” Kumar said. “People were not only unhappy, there was huge anger against the ruling UPA government.”
Modi’s critics remain uneasy about how the Hindu nationalist leader will govern a diverse nation with many religious minorities. As governor of Gujarat state, he was criticized for his handling of Hindu-Muslim rioting that killed more than 1,000 people in 2002. India’s Supreme Court cleared Modi of charges that he incited the violence.

The controversy appears to have faded for many voters. Modi has since cast himself as an able administrator and decisive leader who has energized the economy of Gujarat and holds the promise of doing the same for the rest of the country. 

Gandhi influence fades
There was huge anticipation on vote-counting day. People follow TV reports of election results as closely as they do a high-stakes cricket match.    
While celebrations continued nonstop for the BJP, the New Delhi headquarters of the Congress Party wore a desolate look. Congress Party leaders conceded defeat early. The “grand old party,” which has ruled India for more than 50 years, was not just voted out - it was decimated. That is likely to raise questions about its continued reliance for leadership on the Gandhi political dynasty.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Narendra C. from: Texas
May 17, 2014 1:13 AM
The people of India also got tired of the corrupt ruling parties controlled by a foreign born lady who is also suspected of stashing loot and defense kick backs in offshore Swiss accounts. If USA wants India's business, they will have to line up and compete with the Euro, UK, Russia and China businesses lining up and respect Indian people and its leaders.

by: Bharat from: Bharatiya
May 16, 2014 4:58 PM
without any doubt, this is a New India... India of strength, of pride, of Hindus - we have our own beautiful culture, our own pride.
no more capitulation to degraded islamic terrorism... and one last thing - WE LOVE ISRAEL..!!!

by: Spectacle_Watcher from: USA
May 16, 2014 4:47 PM
I cannot believe that a writer of Indian origin and bearing a Hondu name repeatedly uses this misleading term "Hindu Nationalist." The writer blithely ignores the fact that the riots started because 58 Hindu pilgrims were roasted alive by a Muslim mob. This fake Gandhi clan and their cronies basically made it a crime for any Hindu to openly say that they are Hindus. This family was systematically pursuing policies and programs of divisiveness and anti-Hindu agenda. It came back to bite them, among many other things like endemic corruption and complete ineptitude. As for the Muslims, their numbers have swelled from 8% to almost 14% of Indian population. They have been willing participants in this insidious plan of the Congress party to create a rock solid vote bank.

by: Sunil from: Dallas TX
May 16, 2014 3:57 PM
Agree with Srinivas. It'd sad to hear the words "right wing" "nationalistic". It's either ignorance or just stupidity. Why should a party representing 85% of a nation's religion be considered nationalistic ? Is th Republican a right wing nationalistic party since it is based on "christian values" We had Muslim presidents in India while Barrack Obama was hounded for just a Muslim middle name. Why can't we have party that represents our religion ? Which country in th world has a ruling party that is from a minority religion ?

by: paul walter from: Philadelphia
May 16, 2014 3:54 PM
"Gandhi influence fades" this last para is misleading. The correct dynasty should be Nehru dynasty. Nehru's daughter took on the name Gandhi so that they could gain political mandate by using Gandhi's name. Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi is not at all related to this family. Indira Gandhi and subsequently her son Rajiv Gandhi followed by his Italian wife - Sonia Gandhi (may not be her real name either) and finally Rahul Gandhi are the Nehru dynasty.

by: spiris from: VA
May 16, 2014 9:43 AM
This will mirror the coming elections in America, after all the scandals and corruption of the Obama administration coupled with a stagnate economy, it's easy to see that Obama has failed America and the Constitution.
In Response

by: Sashi from: VA
May 16, 2014 3:36 PM
True! Hope for stronger more business friendly America! Tired of Obama.

by: Srinivas
May 16, 2014 8:33 AM
BJP "Hindu Nationalist party" and Modi a "Hindu Nationalist". It's very sad and feeling sorry for this article author for her lack of knowledge.It's even became more worst when this author is from India.

by: Karthik from: Boston
May 16, 2014 8:26 AM
"Bharatiya Janata" means "Indian People"

by: Michael from: New York
May 16, 2014 8:18 AM
what is the meaning of "Bharatiya Janata" (Party)?
In Response

by: Abhiram Alva from: Hyd
June 11, 2014 1:59 AM
Indian people's party
In Response

by: priyabrata Mukherjee from: Nikunjapur,W.B,India
May 16, 2014 9:11 AM
Bharatiya means INDIAN
Janata means PEOPLE... so its means INDIAN PEOPLE PARTY
In Response

by: Amit from: India
May 16, 2014 9:09 AM
Bharatiya means the one who belongs to the land of Bharat (Original name of India) so it means Indian

Janata means Public/ masses.

Indian Public/masses party.
In Response

by: Arthas from: India
May 16, 2014 8:36 AM
In Hindi, Bharat is the other name for "India" & Janata means "People". So, Bharatiya Janata Party, combined would mean "Indian People's Party"
In Response

by: Shailesh from: USA
May 16, 2014 8:25 AM
Janata=people, Bharat=India
Peoples party of India
Bhartiya= belonging to people of India

by: Benny Mukherjee from: India
May 16, 2014 8:04 AM
If Modi is a "Hindu Nationalist", then that make Sonia Gandhi a Christian anti-national and Salman Khurshid a Muslim anti-national. By that definition, all Republicans should be called Christian Nationalists and all middle-eastern prime ministers as Islamic dictators. But when it comes to that group, double standards come into play.
In Response

by: BillionVoices
May 17, 2014 2:19 AM
Well said. The western media won't learn. History of Hindus demonstrates the religious tolerance the people from Indian sub-continent have demonstrated for thousands of years. India has been a country of Hindus where all religions of the world flourished. While the West was killing each other on the name of religion, Hindus fostered world religions. Hundreds of thousands are killed in the middle east by the secularists. On any day, a Hindu Nationalist is a civilized, altruistic, cultured and tolerant human than a western secularist.
In Response

by: Sashi from: VA
May 16, 2014 3:35 PM
Very good reply!
In Response

by: Vivek Katti
May 16, 2014 2:54 PM
That was an EXCELLENT analogy!
In Response

by: maxwell9
May 16, 2014 8:34 AM
Amazing how media words each positive matter in to negative content...
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs

Day in Photos

A dog, with his fur dyed green and wearing antlers made out of red fabric, poses for a photograph before participating in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in El Paso, Texas, United States, Nov. 26, 2015.

A dog, with his fur dyed green and wearing antlers made out of red fabric, poses for a photograph before participating in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in El Paso, Texas, United States, Nov. 26, 2015.