India

Indian election: Narendra Modi hails 'landmark' win

  • 16 May 2014
  • From the section India

Incoming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed a "landmark" election victory by his BJP party.

Thanking supporters in his own constituency in his home state of Gujarat, Mr Modi said they had written a new chapter in the country's history.

Results show the BJP won the biggest victory by any party for 30 years, gaining a majority in parliament and trouncing the outgoing Congress Party.

The controversial leader campaigned on promises to revive the economy.

However, many Indians still have profound concerns over Mr Modi because of claims he did little to stop communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 when he was first minister in the state.

At least 1,000 people died, most of them Muslims.

Mr Modi has always denied the allegations over he was never charged.

'Real government'

With votes still being counted, the BJP has won more than the 272 seats needed for a parliamentary majority.

With its allies, the party could get more than 330 seats.

"India has won, good days are about to come," Mr Modi tweeted as it became clear that the BJP had triumphed.

The tweet became the most retweeted in India's history.

The prime minister-elect told his supporters the victory was no ordinary one.

"In the 60-year history of Indian independence, I have never seen this in the Indian media, what you have done in our country," Mr Modi said, as supporters shouted "Modi, Modi, Modi".

He said he would rule for all Indians.

"Real government doesn't belong to a community. It belongs to the entire country," he said.

"The real government will belong from Kashmir on top to Kanya Kumari [on India's southern tip] - that is a real government."

Several world leaders have congratulated Mr Modi on his victory.

US President Barack Obama phoned the prime minister-elect and said the US "looks forward to working with India to continue to build a strong partnership between our democracies", National Security Adviser Susan Rice wrote on Twitter.

Earlier UK Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to Mr Modi.

He received invitations to Washington and London, despite being persona non grata in both capitals following the 2002 riots in Gujarat.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif commended the BJP's "impressive victory" in the election.

The election result will be a crushing blow to the Congress party, which is led by the Nehru-Gandhi family and has dominated Indian politics since independence.

It is only expected to win 44 seats.

The election reflects voter anger with Congress, which has been mired in serious corruption scandals and whose leadership has been considered ineffective in recent years, analysts say.

Accepting defeat, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said: "We humbly respect the verdict of the people."

Narendra Modi bows to supporters at a rally in Gujarat - 16 May
Narendra Modi thanked supporters for the election victory in his home state of Gujarat
BJP supporters in Delhi - 16 May
Celebration of the BJP victory continued into the night in Delhi
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi accepting defeat on 16 May 2014
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi said they took full responsibility for the Congress party's heavy defeat
Vote counting in Gauhati, India, on 16 May 2014
More than 500 million votes are being counted, with the official results expected later on Friday

Share prices rallied to new highs on BJP promises of economic revival.

More than 500 million people voted in what is the world's biggest exercise in democracy.

Voter turnout in the mammoth nine-phase general election was a record 66.38%, beating the previous 1984 poll record.

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India election

  • World's biggest exercise in electoral democracy; 814 million eligible voters
  • A total of 8,251 candidates stood for election
  • It started five weeks ago and a total of 551 million votes were cast, with a record 66.38% turnout
  • The party or alliance that wins a majority in the 543-seat parliament forms the government