South Asian Insider
Opinion and Editorial
BJP returns to power Riding on Modi Wave in India
(By our staff reporter) New Delhi: In a 45 minute victory speech to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday promised to devote “every moment” of his time and “every fibre” of his being for the people of India and said the country will now have only two castes -- the poor and those who want to alleviate poverty.
In a rousing speech at the party headquarters here to celebrate the BJP’s spectacular victory, Modi told cheering supporters that the election has thrown up a mandate to build a new India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party towards a super-sized victory for a second term in office, as his message of nationalism, security, Hindu pride and a New India was wholeheartedly embraced by voters across large swathes of the country.
The elections have established the 68-year-old Modi as the most popular Indian leader in decades. The BJP led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) has won 348 seats, while Congress led UPA won 79 and others won 115. The elections were held for the 542 Lok Sabha seats, that went to polls in seven phases.
In the end, BJP's prediction in the final stages of campaigning of "ab ki baar 300 paar" came true, as Congress President Rahul Gandhi's campaign slogan of "chowkidar chor hai" found no resonance among voters. In almost all the states where BJP won, its vote share was more than 50 percent.
Striking a conciliatory political tone, he also reached out to his rivals, urging everyone to put the rancour of the bitter and often nasty campaign behind them. What’s past is past, he said. “We have to move ahead. We have to take everyone with us, even our opponents. We have to work for the benefit of the country,” he said.
“You have filled this fakir’s bag with a lot of hope. All your hopes, dreams, ambitions are dependent on it,” he said. This is the victory of toiling farmers who struggle to feed the nation, this is the victory of those who now live in proper houses, this is the victory of the middle class which follows the rules, pays taxes, but wondered if his taxes were being used for the benefit of the country, he said. In the last five years, people have realized that the money they are contributing in taxes has been put to nation-building, he said.
The results have raised questions about Rahul Gandhi's leadership and his party's future. At a press conference, Gandhi refused to address that issue, saying the party will hold a meeting on Friday to discuss the future.
Even though the opposition had criticized the BJP campaign as divisive and polarising, the trend shows that the Modi wave and the party's brilliant election management swept across geographies, caste lines, age, gender and economic status.
The Modi wave not only swept through the Hindi heartland and Gujarat, as was expected, but also rippled through West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Only Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh appeared untouched. Even in Telangana, where it was expected to fare poorly, the BJP was ahead in four seats, the same as the Telangana Rashtra Samiti.
However, Andhra Pradesh threw up a shock in the Assembly polls, which were held simultaneously, voting out of power the Telugu Desam Party of Chandrababu Naidu, and electing Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress. After Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Narendra Modi is the third prime minister of the country—and the first non-Congress one—who has been able to retain power for a second term with full majority in Lok Sabha. The results were staggering for BJP in the Hindi-speaking states, including those where Congress had won in the recent Assembly elections: in Madhya Pradesh.
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