Narendra Modi, the leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, emerged victorious as India’s next Prime Minister. 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.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won 337 seats, with the BJP alone winning 282 seats, comfortably crossing the 272 halfway mark needed to form the government. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance won 58 seats, heading for its worst-ever tally.
The BJP returns to power at the Centre after 10 years. Allies will also be part of the government, though the BJP is not dependent on any for numbers. The BJP won a simple majority for the first time, only the second time a non-Congress party has done so. The BJP also became the first single party since 1984 to get a majority in the Lok Sabha. The result is the biggest landslide in 30 years.
Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister-elect, has promised to work to “fulfil the dreams of 1.2 billion people” as he addressed his supporters for the first time after he led his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to a landslide election victory.
Speaking to supporters, Modi thanked the nation, and immediately addressed concerns his pro-Hindu leanings would sideline minorities.
“The age of divisive politics has ended, from today onwards the politics of uniting people will begin,” Modi said. “We want more strength for the wellbeing of the country … I see a glorious and prosperous India.”
“I want to take all of you with me to take this country forward… it is my responsibility to take all of you with me to run this country,” he added.
At a news conference, Congress 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.
Amidst an abysmal performance by the Congress all over the country, it was a mission accomplished for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the more charismatic Gandhi, who campaigned hard in the two family bastions of Rae Bareli and Amethi. Sonia won the Rae Bareli seat by a huge margin. Priyanka was the lead campaigner for her brother Rahul Gandhi in Amethi and mother Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli. Sonia Gandhi crafted the ‘we are all equally to blame’ line earlier this week in a bid to firewall son Rahul for the defeat.
The AIADMK leader swept almost all the seats in the southern state and captured 45% of the vote, leaving a consolation two seats to the NDA alliance. The ruling AIADMK scored an emphatic victory in the Lok Sabha election in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats on its own. The performance of the AIADMK has put the party, led by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, to become the third largest party in the Lok Sabha.
The AIADMK, despite its performance, is unlikely to play a crucial role as the BJP has won a majority on its own. In a statement here, Ms. Jayalalithaa said her appeal to the people of Tamil Nadu to strengthen her hands was not out of any selfish motives but to get justice for the people of the State. She termed her party’s massive victory “historic, and unparalleled.”
Jayalalithaa articulated Tamil issues – the Cauvery waters, Mullaperiyar, the Sri Lankan Tamil and fishermen issues – and ensured she was not outflanked by Tamil nationalists.
The AIADMK victory will cast a shadow over the assembly elections due in two years time. The biggest challenge will be for the DMK where a there is an ongoing political struggle between Karunanidhi’s two sons – Stalin and Alagiri. The DMK is now looking at five years without any representation in New Delhi.