The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by 63-year-old Narendra Modi, will take a commanding majority in India’s parliament, cementing a meteoric rise at the expense of the incumbent Indian National Congress and leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
As vote tallies from across the country were announced Friday, it quickly became clear the BJP’s performance would surpass even many optimistic predictions, winning the first outright parliamentary majority in 30 years. Modi won his seat in the holy Hindu city of Varanasi and the BJP was projected to win more seats in the state of Uttar Pradesh alone than Congress in the entire country.
World leaders placed congratulatory calls to Modi after Congress conceded what may be its worst-ever defeat, while the financial markets continued to show approval for Modi. In his victory speech from his home state of Gujarat, Modi frequently referred to himself in the third person.
“Today every voter became Narendra Modi,” said the man who proudly displayed his humble origins throughout the campaign, standing before a sea of supporters. He celebrated the fact that his administration will be the first born in post-independence India and called for national unity.
Kevin Grant, senior editor of GlobalPost’s Special Reports, writes about India’s elections as part of the series, “The Saffron Election.”