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
X
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 VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
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
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs