Opposition BJP heads for landslide

Opposition BJP heads for landslide

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The opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called its predicted landslide win in India’s election a “people’s victory”.
Party president Rajnath Singh said it marked “a new era” for India. Votes counted so far suggest the BJP is on course for the most resounding victory by any party for 30 years, trouncing the outgoing Congress Party. After a decade of rule by Congress, the BJP is expected to steer India sharply to the right. The new prime minister will be Narendra Modi, chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, who is seen as a no-nonsense, can-do leader who stands for development and muscular nationalism, says the BBC’s Soutik Biswas. He campaigned on promises he would revive the country’s slowing economic growth. Mr Modi told cheering supporters that the result was a “new chapter” in the history of independent India. However, many Indians still have profound concerns over Mr Modi because of claims he did little to stop the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, in which at least 1,000 people died, most of them Muslims – allegations he has always denied and over which he was never charged. 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 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.” – BBC News

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