News / Asia

Huge Victory for Modi Raises Expectations for Change in India

Landslide Vote for Modi Raises Expectations for Change in Indiai
Aru Pande
May 16, 2014 10:12 PM
He’s been called polarizing, efficient and autocratic - often in the same sentence. No Indian politician has generated so much attention and focus in recent years as India's next prime minister, Narendra Modi, whose Bharatiya Janata Party swept India's parliamentary elections. VOA’s Aru Pande has more on the expectations surrounding Modi as he comes to power.
Landslide Vote for Modi Raises Expectations for Change in India
Aru Pande
He’s been called polarizing, efficient and autocratic - often in the same sentence. No Indian politician has generated so much attention and focus in recent years as India's next prime minister, Narendra Modi, whose Bharatiya Janata Party swept India's parliamentary elections.
Like so many other members of India's lower class, housekeeper Bhagwat Singh said the country's economic boom has escaped him. “Every place is corrupt, everywhere. Without money, you can’t get anything done. If a poor man wants something done, they are just sent from place to place,” he said.

Corruption, bureaucracy, and red tape have long plagued India, the world’s largest democracy.
This new prime minister Modi, however, is promising change.
Humble beginning

With humble roots as the son of a tea vendor, Modi has risen through the ranks of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and served as the chief minister of Gujarat for 13 years.
Supporters say in that time, he has transformed the western Indian state into an economic success, powering homes, building roads and attracting investment through high-profile summits like this one - with a results-driven approach and a no-nonsense attitude towards graft.
It is this change that many, including India’s business leaders, hope Modi will implement on a national level as prime minister.
Rick Rossow, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said, "Seeing him as prime minister, I think, would be very much welcomed in [my] conversations with business leaders. They do want to see some sort of change - regulatory consistency, new economic reforms to take place, the ability to cut down on corruption.”

High expectations

But while much of the country remains hopeful about Modi's leadership, some also are fearful. He was accused of doing nothing to stop deadly sectarian riots that hit Gujarat in 2002. At least 1,000 people were killed, mostly Muslims.

Although the Indian Supreme Court cleared the 63-year-old of involvement in the violence, many, particularly the country's 180 million Muslims, are wary of a man who was a longtime member of the hardline Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS.

Brookings Institution fellow Tanvi Madan said Indians will be watching to see if Modi focuses on growth and development and not promoting Hindu nationalism.

“If he is seen as moving away from his promises during the campaign to be the prime minister of all Indians, I think you will see these issues [of sectarianism] emerge again. But if he proves that he is going to focus on what he has promised to deliver, I think people will not necessarily set them aside, but they will move to the background,” said Madan.

With Modi's BJP winning in a landslide, expectations are certainly high.
  • Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, the presumptive prime minister of India and leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seeks blessings from his mother, Heeraben, at her residence in Gandhinagar, in the western state of Gujarat, May 16, 2014.
  • Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi (center), the presumptive prime minister of India, gestures as he arrives to seek blessings from his mother, Heeraben, at her residence in Gandhinagar, May 16, 2014.
  • A man prepares to sign a board with a picture of Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, the presumptive prime minister of India and leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), at the BJP headquarters, in New Delhi, May 16, 2014.
  • Amit Shah, a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), throws garlands towards BJP supporters during celebrations after learning of poll results outside the party headquarters, in New Delhi, May 16, 2014.
  • Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son and vice president of Congress, Rahul Gandhi, leave after addressing a news conference. India's Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, the towering force of Indian politics for much of the last century, faces a fight for its survival, in New Delhi, May 16, 2014.
  • A policeman stands guard as polling officials carrying electronic voting machines arrive to count votes, in Jammu, May 16, 2014.
  • A supporter of Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, wears her picture during the celebrations after learning of the early poll results in Kolkata, May 16, 2014.
  • A supporter of India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrates after learning of the early poll results outside  party headquarters in New Delhi, May 16, 2014.

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Comment Sorting
by: S Ganapathi Bhat from: mangalore, India
May 20, 2014 10:40 AM
In a democracy,the majority opinion should be respected. This is an elction where the electoral have voted out the so called secular parties which used Muslims as a pawn to pursue their sectarian agenda.

May 18, 2014 3:17 PM
It is useless now to cry over the victory of MODI, lets see to the future, how does he manage the things, improve relations with neighbors and safeguard the interests of minorities.

by: MyNews Clips
May 17, 2014 12:33 AM
India was never a secular state to begin with, it was a matter of convenience for Hindu majority to elect congress govt as all the educational and job opportunities in the country is reserved for Hindus based on Hindu caste system even under congress and Muslims cannot even go to courts against this unfair practice because its enshrine in the so called “secular” constitution that 80% of the education and job opportunities are reserved for various Hindu sub-casts and the remaining 20% is mostly filled by High Hindu caste. Muslims makes upward of 18% of Indian population and their share in education opportunities and jobs is 2% and less. Govt’s own stats proof’s that, Indian Muslims are victims of whole system which is designed to benefits only the Hindu majority, be in jobs, education, buying property, applying for business license, import/export Muslims face hurdles in all walks of life, beside bearing the burnt of police brutality and fake encounters of innocent Muslims. Systematically Muslims were discriminated and pushed into life of poverty is “secular” India. What bring BJP to power now is, the current congress govt under Sonia Ghandhi(a Christian) and Manmohan Sing (a Sikh) was trying to bring some kind of justice to minorities by creating equal opportunities for all irrespective of religion. That dosent goes well with racist Hindu society hence the revolt against congress and bring BJP to power because BJP wants to rollback any fair treatment of minorities and Modi is the person who can make sure minorities (Muslims and Christians) would never get a level playing field in his “Hindu Nation”. The so called corruption charges against congress and blah
blah will always be there in India irrespective of who is at the helm of the power.

by: Avichi from: Los Angeles
May 16, 2014 11:45 PM
Let me start start with congratulation to a landslide WIN for Mr.Prime Minister Modi, he has proved that he is a "Inclusive" leader, and unlike Obama a socialist who has played the "divisive" playbook i.e "Divide and Rule" and pitting one group against other has NOT worked in past 6 years, in the remaining 2 year he will try to do it further and the liberal media and the trolls will try to project the new government in India , as the British did in 1947 by creating the partition and creating chaos. That is noting new in the Western Media and the Western Elites to to that because it is in their own best interest. It is very important that the new Indian leadership keep the governance,energy, and motherland security the utmost priority, and double the importance strong defence budget, strong Defence keeps the Peace, in regards Foreign Policy...Prime Minister Modi does not need President Obama & Joe. Obama & Joe need Prime Minister Modi. The ball in US court. On the final point it is critical that Bollywood and Hollywood nexus of money flow which funds the US elections need to looked at.

by: harrry from: usa
May 16, 2014 8:58 PM
Mr.Tanvii Madan cautions Mr.Modi and says that he will watch whether he works for the progress of the country or promotes Hindu Nationalism. It is funny that he does not want Hindu nationalism be promoted in a Hindu majority nation. My question is does Saudi Arabia, Pakistan,Indonesia, Malaysia promote Islam and strictly control minority population? So what is the difference if Modi Govt. does the same. At least Indians do not invoke blaspheme against Minority like Pakistan is infamous for. I cannot even carry my religious books to Saudi Arabia is that fine with Madan? I hope Mr. Modi will promote Hinduism along with work on prosperity of all segments of the society irrespective of religious persuasions.

by: m s younis from: UK
May 16, 2014 8:08 PM
In this day and age only Islamic fundamentalism and extremism is highlighted
in palastine hamas won a democratic electiion but are not recognized by the west but for some reason Hindu extremiats in India are hardly ever mentioned in media. Does anyone even know what happens in jammu and Kashmir Muslim kids throw stones at Indian soldiers and in return the soldiers fire rubber and even live rounds thousands rounded up and locked up without due process
in Kashmir workers are forced to attend the Indian national day celebrations
In Response

by: John
May 17, 2014 8:51 AM
The reason Islamic fundamentalism and extremism is highlighted is because the Muslims wish to do this to us. If you just wished to murder each other, or other people than Westerners, we'd just ignore you.

by: Dr Neeraj Tripathi from: Bahraich- India
May 16, 2014 8:08 PM
No doubt he is a tough man he has vision to do some solid work he worships his mother and a person who
obays and respects parents will be never do any wrong things this is what my experience says besides this he is a product of RSS which teaches how to live a meaningfull life.
Lets pray all success in his mission.

by: deejay Patel from: jacksonville
May 16, 2014 7:57 PM
why to write about communal thing, when everything was over. Even court of Law & Court of people don't believe in it, & still Reporter like you & westerner playing same old drum. Can u play
same drum for Putin who took Crimea, Can you play same drum for China who took Bhutan, Can you dare to point finger at Pakiistan for hiding & helping Osama Bin Laden.First write abt that.

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