Narendra Modi’s Election Win Heralds New Era in India

   < < Go Back
from The Wall Street Journal,

Hindu-Nationalist, Pro-Business BJP Candidate Narendra Modi Marks Sweeping Shift.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Narendra Modi

India’s voters chose a Hindu-nationalist, pro-business politician to be their next prime minister, tossing out the party that has led the country for most of the past 67 years.

Riding a wave of voter discontent with the incumbent Congress party and a sharply slowing economy, the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Narendra Modi, was on track Saturday to win 282 of the 545 seats in the lower house of Parliament, according to the Election Commission.

If those results are confirmed, it would be the first time in three decades that a single party has captured an outright legislative majority, giving the BJP a strong position from which to push for broad reforms of Asia’s third-biggest economy.

Congress—the party that led India’s freedom struggle against the colonial British, and is controlled by the Nehru-Gandhi family—appeared to be holding on to roughly 44 seats, its lowest tally ever, the Election Commission said.

The vote amounted to a surprisingly broad repudiation of Congress’s welfare-focused approach to policy-making and an endorsement of Mr. Modi’s call for more effective governance and business-friendly measures to create jobs and drive growth.

I didn’t get a chance to sacrifice my life in India’s freedom struggle, but I have the chance to dedicate myself to good governance,” Mr. Modi said to cheers in a victory speech in his home state of Gujarat on Friday night. “I will develop this country. I will take it to new heights.

Mr. Modi tapped into the frustrations of a generation of Indians who climbed out of poverty in the past decade, but who have been prevented from joining the middle classes by slowing growth and a lack of employment. It is a generation that aspires to better work opportunities, a higher standard of living and world-class infrastructure.

More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):