NEW DELHI: India’s triumphant Hindu nationalists declared a ‘new era’ in the world’s biggest democracy Friday after hardline leader Narendra Modi propelled them to the biggest win in 30 years on promises to revitalise the economy.
Preliminary results at the end of the marathon six-week election showed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by prime ministerial candidate Modi on track for the first parliamentary majority by a single party since 1984.
Election Commission figures showed the party likely to win more than the 272 seats required for a majority on its own in the 543-seat parliament, with victories by its allies taking it easily in excess of 330.
Most of the poverty-wracked country’s 1.2 billion people - more than half of whom are under 25 - have never witnessed such dominance having grown up in an era of fractious coalition politics.
Modi, the 63-year-old son of a tea seller tainted by anti-Muslim riots in his home state of Gujarat in 2002, wrote on Twitter that “India has won. Good days are coming.”
The stunning results exceeded all forecasts. Firecrackers exploded at BJP offices around the country, sweets were handed out to celebrate and painted elephants paraded in front of party headquarters.
Narendra Modi promised to work to ‘fulfil the dreams of 1.2 billion people’ as he addressed a sea of well-wishers from across his constituency of Vadodara in Gujarat who turned out to hear the 63-year-old former tea boy. “The heat of the election is over and the people have given their verdict which says that we need to take India forward to fulfil the dreams of India’s 1.2 billion people,” he said.
“There are no enemies in democracy, there is only opposition. I will take your love and convert it into progress before I return.”
The crowds of thousands festooned in his Bharatiya Janata Party’s saffron colour erupted in cheers amid screams of ‘Modi! Modi!’ as he took to the stage, flashing a victory sign and smiling broadly.
“I want to take all of you with me to take this country forward... it is my responsibility to take all of you with me to run this country,” he added.
“Everyone’s support and everyone’s development is our mantra, and these are not hollow words, this is our spirit. That is why the people have given us a clear majority.”
Firecrackers burst and supporters whistled, chanted and broke into thunderous, roaring applause at his gratitude.
“Good days are coming... After filing my nomination from Vadodara I was able to spend only 50 minutes here, but you gave me five lakh 70,000 votes,” he said, referring to his winning margin.
“I bow in front of the people of Vadodara for the love and each of the voters worked as Narendra Modi,” he said.
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