News / Asia

Modi on Brink of Power Ahead of India Vote Count

FILE - Gujarat state chief minister and the prime ministerial candidate of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Narendra Modi,
FILE - Gujarat state chief minister and the prime ministerial candidate of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Narendra Modi,
Reuters
India's election results on Friday could usher in the most profound economic change in a generation if opposition leader Narendra Modi wins a clear mandate for his agenda to revive growth and create jobs.
 
Tension that has built up over the five-week election will be released in a few hours as the Election Commission tallies the 537 million votes cast from Tamil Nadu in the south to Jammu and Kashmir in the north.
 
If the results of the world's largest exercise in democracy are in line with exit polls, Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies will win an absolute majority of more than 272 seats in the lower house of parliament.
 
That would open the way for Modi, 63, to act quickly to form the core of a new government by naming loyalists to the prized cabinet posts of finance, home, defense and external affairs.
 
Betting on that outcome, foreign investors have poured more than $16 billion into Indian stocks and bonds in the past six months and now hold over 22 percent of Mumbai-listed equities - a stake estimated by Morgan Stanley at almost $280 billion.
 
But with markets racing higher, anything short of a ringing endorsement for Modi and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) could trigger volatile trading on Friday.
 
“The bar for the opposition team has risen significantly,” investment bank DBS wrote in a note on Thursday.
 
“Compared with pre-poll surveys where NDA's tally averaged around 250, the average has moved up to 280 in the exit polls. This suggests that if the actual tally is closer to 250-260 seats, the markets might be disappointed.”
 
The Election Commission will collate returns sent in by 989 counting stations from 8 a.m. (0230 GMT). Preliminary figures, showing how many seats a party is leading in, may give an early indication of final results due by around lunchtime.
 
Modi wave
 
Since being named as his party's candidate last September, Modi has flown 300,000 km and addressed 457 rallies in a slick, presidential-style campaign that has broken the mold of Indian politics.
 
In so doing, Modi has outclassed Rahul Gandhi - the fourth-generation scion of the Congress party's Nehru-Gandhi dynasty - while burnishing his pro-business record as chief minister of the western state of Gujarat.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who as finance minister launched economic reforms in 1991 that brought an end to decades of economic isolation, has already bid farewell to his staff after a decade in office marked by mounting policy paralysis.
 
Modi's mantra of development has won over many voters skeptical about his Hindu-centric ideology and role in sectarian riots in his home state in 2002 in which more than 1,000 people died, mainly Muslims. He has denied any wrongdoing and a probe ordered by the Supreme Court has found he had no case to answer.
 
Exit polls estimate that the BJP's vote share rose by 15 percentage points to 34 percent. Under India's first-past-the-post system, that may be enough for the BJP to take battleground states like Uttar Pradesh - home to one in every six Indians.

'Modinomics'
 
Modi has promised that, if elected, he would take decisive action to unblock stalled investments in power, road and rail projects to revive economic growth that has fallen to a decade low of below 5 percent.
 
Tax and labor market reforms, backed by a gradual opening up to foreign investment, would seek to create the 10 million jobs that Asia's third-largest economy must create every year to employ young people entering the workforce.
 
If Modi does fall short of a majority, he could face lengthy coalition talks with regional parties that might demand a high price for their loyalty and dilute his reform agenda.
 
Modi has retreated to his home base in Gujarat, where he will learn of the election results on Friday before flying to New Delhi for what could be a hero's welcome from party loyalists clad in the BJP's orange colors.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs