Narendra Modi secures landslide win

24 May, 2019 - 00:05 0 Views

The ManicaPost

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has secured another five-year term after winning a landslide general election victory.

Results so far show his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to win about 300 of the 543 seats in parliament.

The main opposition alliance, which is headed by Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party, has admitted defeat.

The vote had been widely viewed as a referendum on the prime minister’s Hindu nationalist politics.

“We all want a new India. I want to bow down my head and say thank you,” Mr Modi said in a victory address to BJP supporters on Thursday evening.

Over 600 million people voted in a marathon six-week process.

Mr Modi has not just exceeded exit poll predictions but has also won a larger share of the vote than the 2014 elections, partial results show.

At a press conference in Delhi, opposition leader Mr Gandhi conceded the general election as well as his Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh – which he had held since 2004 and his family had held for decades.

What are the numbers?

Partial and declared results show Mr Modi’s BJP is projected to win 300 seats, while the main opposition alliance headed by Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party is expected to win fewer than 100.

A party or coalition needs at least 272 seats to secure a majority in the 543-member lower house of parliament, or Lok Sabha.

In 2014, the BJP won 282 seats – the biggest victory by any party in 30 years – and with its allies it secured 336 seats in that parliament.

The Congress, which won just 44, suffered its worst defeat in 2014 and with its allies took up just 60 seats in the lower house.

This year, there were 900 million voters eligible to take part in seven rounds of voting, making it the largest election the world had ever seen.

Results are being released in phases by the Election Commission but a final result may not be known for several hours or longer.

Narendra Modi made this an election all about himself.

He should have faced some anti-incumbent feeling. Joblessness has risen to a record high, farm incomes have plummeted and industrial production has slumped.

Many Indians were hit hard by the currency ban (also known as demonetisation), which was designed to flush out undeclared wealth, and there were complaints about what critics said was a poorly-designed and complicated uniform sales tax.

The results prove that people are not yet blaming Mr Modi for this.

A combination of nationalist rhetoric, subtle religious polarisation and a slew of welfare programmes helped Mr Modi to coast to a second successive win. He also mined national security as a vote-getter in a manner never seen in a general election in recent history.

“It is all right if there’s little development, but Modi is keeping the nation secure and keeping India’s head high,” a voter in the eastern city of Kolkata told me.

Mr Modi is a strongman, and people possibly love him for that.

What has the response been?

“This election was fought not by politicians but the people of this country – but it’s the people of this country who have emerged victorious,” Mr Modi told thousands of supporters at the BJP’s headquarters in Delhi.

“We will never give up our ideals, our humility and our culture,” he added.

Party members cheered, banged drums and set off fireworks when the results started to emerge. As the prime minister arrived, he was showered with rose petals.

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, a senior BJP leader, said in a tweet that the BJP had won a “massive victory”.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated Mr Modi for his victory on Twitter and said he looked forward to working with him for “peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia”.

The BBC’s Zubair Ahmed in Delhi says Congress Party staff, who had been hoping for a much improved performance, looked lost for words.

Where were the key contests?

The BJP is projected to win more than 50 percent of the vote in the huge northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which sends more MPs to parliament than any other state (80).

This took election observers by surprise as the party was expected to be seriously challenged by a tie-up between two powerful regional parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP), which had previously been bitter rivals. — BBC

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