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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid