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
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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.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: punit from: india
May 16, 2014 6:38 AM
How is Modi an 'hindu nationalist' but those arabian or turkey's erdogen are not 'muslim nationalist', or islam is above nationalism and should be called ummah-ism.
In Response

by: maxwell9
May 16, 2014 9:04 AM
exactly look at this western interest driven media... they all want to see the whole world as negative and poor. they are the only rich one.. what a bs.. Brain Washing = Media

by: Timid Penspeaker from: Kolkata
May 16, 2014 4:30 AM
It was imperative and expected that the ruling Congress with its allies would be defeated in the 2014 general election. There were many reasons that went against the masses --high inflation, misrule , weak foreign policy, extreme corruption, etc. But I think one of the great reason was that those parties were proved to be fake secular only for their personal (the parties') selfishness and over appeasement of the Muslims who have been in the slow but steady mission of acquiring population majority and corner up the Hindus on their own land.

People were looking for a strong leader to lead the nation with a strong foreign policy and the same time development. Actually Congress party under the leadership of Gandhi did no good to the nation but just gave away a big part of land to the Muslims in the name of two-religion theory which only lost the land but the problem was let on. The latest research proves that the Congress party was not patriotic but the enemy. Its leader Gandhi was a great spy to the British rulers which caused the independence to come later than it could have come. These were the reasons that reflected in the election.
Timid Penspeaker
In Response

by: Nandana from: Colombo
May 16, 2014 8:41 AM
Nationalistic do not mean extremist. Feeling about a Country, its people and working towards its development cant be wrong. But West want to brand them as "Nationalists" since they like to have puppet Govts in Other countries. Muslims are slowly grabbing the things in many countries mostly by increasing Births, this amount to endless communal tensions.

Also Cristians popularise their religion aggresively and using lot of money. All These are not ethical. Hindus or Bhuddhists do not behave like this. Thus to make peace and harmony, you will have to control these practices by Muslims and Christians. But equal rights and human rights should be established for all minorities. The majority should not be made insecure or threatened.

Congratulations to Modi. With this majority You can make hard decisions now and solve issues lasting for decades for India and then small countries can follow.



by: S H from: USA
May 16, 2014 3:29 AM
Democracy in action in the second most populous country on Earth. Big hope for prosperity in India, and a landside victory gives him a powerful mandate.
Hope the global economy continues to recover so nothing undermines India's efforts.
In Response

by: Dr Balkrishna N Dave from: Ahmedabad-India
May 18, 2014 11:57 AM
First time our Indigenous hindu blood ,born after freedom, a leader from Gandhi native (Gujarat)won 282 MP entire majority purly one party BJP,i,e Indigenous (Bharat)people (Janata) party in history of India.
Worls will see the growth of Nation towards Superpower.

by: Vijay Gupta from: jaipur
May 16, 2014 3:08 AM
These elections change the history of India
Comments page of 2
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