Narendra Modi sweeps India
Jubilant supporters burst firecrackers, danced on streets and gave out sweets as 63-year-old Narendra Modi on Friday claimed victory in India's 2014 national election that all but guaranteed his promotion to the post of the country's next Prime Minister.
Decimating the ruling Congress in a landslide victory, Modi led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to win 285 seats out of 543 that made it the first party to cross the majority mark of 272 on its own in over 30 years.
Riding on an unprecedented wave of expectations coupled with widespread resentment against the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Modi almost singled-handedly bought the BJP-led National Deocratic Alliance (NDA) to a 340-seat-tally.
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi-led Congress party meanwhile was routed to just 43 seats, a huge 162 seats short of last time, ending Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's tenure with a humiliating blow.
While political analysts attributed the verdict to a barrage of corruption scandals under the UPA government, indecisive governance and failure to satisfy and increasingly aspirational electorate, supporters of Modi credited the Gujarat Chief Minister's promises and performance record.
Seen as a business-friendly leader who can cut down red tape to expedite development in Asia's third-largest economy, the Hindu nationalist leader successfully overcame his reputation as a divisive politician who failed to curb religious riots in his state that cost thousands of Muslim lives in 2002.
In his first public address after registering a whopping victory in the Lok Sabha polls, Narendra Modi, tone of India's most aggressive leaders in recent times, fronted a starkly different tone as he thanked the voters in his constituency Vadodara for supporting him.
'Even if we've clear majority to run the government, it's our responsibility to take everyone along in running India," said Modi after earlier paying a visit to his mother to seek her blessings, ending an over eight month Presidential campaign.
Renewing his vow to reboot the economy and deliver efficient governance, the three-time Chief Minister who was elected to parliament from Vadodara and the holy city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, said "development for all" would be his mission.
Following the verdict that matched most exit poll predictions, Modi is expected to land in Delhi on Saturday and lead a roadshow to the BJP office for a meeting of its top decision-making body, its parliamentary board.
The victory, for all its captivating rags to riches tale of a humble tea seller, however did not appear to quell all dissenting voices within the party as BJP patriarch raised eyebrows after he said Modi's role in the resounding victory needed an assessment.
But for supporters on streets and foreign governments Modi's victory was definitive and finite. While "Modi! Modi!" chants rang through streets around BJP offices nationwide, foreign governments including the United States and Israel congratulated the party.
"US congratulates BJP on its victory in India's historic election; we look forward to working w/ govt once formed to advance our partnership," the National Security Council (NSC) of the White House tweeted.
Congratulating BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, under whose leadership the BJP-led NDA registered the victory, Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said,"Looking forward to work together, enhance bilateral relationship".
Meanwhile as Modi claimed victory, last tallies of votes showed three regional parties Trinamool Congress (TMC), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) claimed respectable results at 34, 37 and 18 seats each.
(Posted on 17-05-2014)