Saffron surge: BJP landslide win catapults Modi to power

Published: May 17, 2014
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“I want to make the 21st century India’s century. It will take 10 years, not very long,” the four-term chief minister of Gujarat told his supporters after his historic win. PHOTO: AFP

“I want to make the 21st century India’s century. It will take 10 years, not very long,” the four-term chief minister of Gujarat told his supporters after his historic win. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled off a stunning electoral triumph on Friday that gave it an outright majority in India’s lower house of parliament and ultimately help install Narendra Modi as the country’s new prime minister.

Preliminary results at the end of the month-long election showed the Modi-led BJP had won a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha – the first decisive mandate by a single party in over 30 years.

With projections pushing BJP well over the 272-seat barrier – enough to form a government without coalition partners- supporters’ thronged BJP headquarters in Delhi for carnival-style celebrations. Dancers in traditional costumes chanted pro-Modi slogans as firecrackers exploded at party offices around the country and sweets were handed out in the streets.

Within hours of the official results, the ruling Congress party conceded defeat in the election. “We accept defeat. We are ready to sit in the opposition,” senior Congress leader and spokesman Rajeev Shukla told reporters at the party headquarters in New Delhi as preliminary results showed it would win 49 seats, a historic low for India’s founding party.

“Modi promised the moon and stars to the people. People bought that dream,” he added.

Interestingly, India has not witnessed an unambiguous victory for one political party since 1984, when former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination catapulted her party into the parliament with more than 400 seats – the maximum number bagged by any party in Indian electoral history.

The  63-year-old Modi is set to take oath on May 21 with a cabinet of 12 ministers.

“I want to make the 21st century India’s century. It will take 10 years, not very long,” the four-term chief minister of Gujarat told his supporters after his historic win.

Modi also made clear efforts to sound inclusive amid deep suspicion of him among religious minorities, particularly Muslims. “I want to take all of you with me to take this country forward,” Modi added.

Celebrations on the streets of India were soon followed up by a slew of congratulatory messages pouring in for Modi from across the world. The prime ministers of Sri Lanka, Britain and Pakistan rushed to telephone Modi to congratulate the new leader of the world’s largest democracy.

The atmosphere at the Congress headquarters was subdued as party leaders were coming to terms with the resounding defeat and dismal showing in the polls.

Dismayed by its performance, the outgoing Congress is struggling to maintain a respectable presence in the Indian parliament that enables it to play the role of the opposition in the house.

Party chief Rahul Gandhi, like many party stalwarts, barely managed a razor-thin lead in his home constituency. Similarly, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid received a tough wrap in his constituency.

In other major upsets, the recently founded Aam Admi Party, which rose to popularity on the promise of purging corruption, won only seven seats against the expectations of many of its supporters.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • uzair
    May 17, 2014 - 5:35AM

    Modi is here for the next 5 years. There are no ifs and buts. Our (Pak and Ind) only concern should be to improve ties, economy and coorperation in many fields. We should ignore the anti friendly actors and do not pause our friendship. If we pause, the enemies will win. If we continue this friendship, they’ll give up. ET pls publish.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    May 17, 2014 - 5:57AM

    I am very happy that the intelligent and wise people of India have taught a lesson to Aam Admi Party. I wish people of Pakistan had taught the similar lesson to PTI.

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  • Hafiz
    May 17, 2014 - 7:15AM

    pakistan pretending hails to Modi actually pakistan opposed Modi to come power

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  • imran ali
    May 17, 2014 - 10:14AM

    A man in 1970 who started life working in a canteen selling tea ….now Prime Minister great achievement..

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  • Vectra
    May 17, 2014 - 11:23AM

    Within hours of the official results Special Protection Group responsible for PM took over the security of Narendra Modi.Government of India is supreme and is there forever but the ruler change but its the people who decide who will take over the seat of the GOI,hats of to the democracy a solid mandate given by the people of India.Yes Modi is right only 10 year is only needed to reach height,China also took 10 yrs bt will 5 yrs already there hopefully another 5 yr will follow but whatever the reason may be India has voted for a change and this time not religion but development is mantra of mandate.Recommend

  • ekon
    May 17, 2014 - 11:48AM

    @Pakistanis Instead of accusing Modi as anti muslim and other things. Ask yourself Can you come out of your feudal mindset ? Can you elect a humble man like Modi who was a tea vendor once in your country apart from Bhutto’s and Shariffs ? Our democracy is not perfect but it is certainly maturing very quickly if yesterday’s result is anything to go by.

    For a common man like me, I feel proud to say our Prime Minister was once a tea vendor who rose through the ranks. It inspires every citizen to work their way up and earn your spot instead of giving me a feeling you can only be successful through your high level contacts or your baap or maa being a millionaire or a billionaire.

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  • Modian
    May 17, 2014 - 11:54AM

    dear ET plz correct your words…… AAP won only four seats in punjab not seven… thank you

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  • vish
    May 17, 2014 - 1:23PM

    Congress cannnot even sit in opposition because they are not elegible for 10% total seat for them. so bunch of penguins sitting in a corner

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  • Shan
    May 17, 2014 - 1:44PM

    Congradulation to Modi and BJP for land slide victory.Recommend

  • Patriotic Pakistani
    May 17, 2014 - 2:30PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    With people like you, Pakistan does not need enemies.

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  • Baba Ji
    May 17, 2014 - 6:46PM

    No party in India is screaming of rigging in elections ???? Any lessons in it for us Pakistanis ?

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