Indian Prime Minister Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed a landslide victory Thursday in the gargantuan six-week general elections, cementing the Hindu nationalist leader as the most powerful politician in decades in the most populous democracy in the world.
The elections marked the world’s largest exercise in democracy with up to 900 million people eligible to vote. Hundreds of millions of Indians took to the polls on the first day of the elections, April 11.
India announced the results on Thursday with the incumbent Modi and his BJP as the clear winners.
Modi’s “emphatic victory has been greeted with dismay among some members of religious minority groups, who have voiced fears that a returned Bharatiya Janata party government would be further emboldened to prosecute its Hindu nationalist agenda,” the Guardian reported.
Some Hindu-nationalists are known to persecute India’s Christian and Muslim minorities.
From the start of the six-week marathon elections on April 11 until the end on Thursday, Modi’s BJP was considered the frontrunner.
On Wednesday, the New York Times (NYT) reported:
Mr. Modi, one of the most powerful and divisive leaders India has produced in decades, appeared easily headed for another five-year term, according to election returns.
With most votes counted, the Election Commission reported that Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., was ahead in about 299 parliamentary districts, far beyond the 272 seats it would need for a majority in the 543-seat Parliament. At this pace, the party would actually expand on its current majority — a development no one was predicting in recent months.
And its actual majority will be larger, as its established coalition partners have won at least a few dozen more seats.
Various opposition parties claimed widespread fraud involving the electronic voting machines (EVM), but the concerns did nothing to prevent Modi from keeping his premier position.
Pandering to his Hindu-nationalist base during a speech to party workers outside the BJP’s headquarters in New Delhi, Modi evoked “mythical Hindu figures engaged in war, Mr. Modi framed the elections as a victory by and for ordinary Indians, over those who write off the poor and downtrodden,” NYT noted.
Modi vowed to guarantee a “bright future for India,” the Times added.
Striking a populist tone on Twitter, Modi reportedly wrote, “India wins yet again!”
“Some are saying, ‘Modi, Modi, Modi.’” he reportedly added in his speech on Wednesday. “This is not Modi’s victory. This is the victory of the expectations of the honest citizen of this country.”