Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one of the most powerful and divisive leaders India has produced in decades, has been declared winner of the in just concluded general election in the country.
Modi in a thundering speech to party workers outside Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi, struck a humble tone to the people saying; “I want to bow my head before the 1.3 billion people of this country.
“This election is being fought by the people. If anyone has won, it is India. We dedicate this victory to the people of India.”
Striking a populist tone and evoking 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. At the end of the battle, he said, was “the guarantee of a bright future for India.”
Meanwhile, the leader of the principal opposition Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi has conceded defeat.
Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi, Gandhi said that the people of India have decided that Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister.
Although final results are still outstanding, data from India’s election commission showed that Modi’s ruling alliance, which needs 272 seats in the next parliament to form a government, was leading in 327 constituencies, giving his coalition a clear path to victory.
Full results are expected in the coming hours.
The results follows a polarizing election during which Modi and the BJP portrayed the incumbent less as an economic reformer — the main message in the 2014 elections that first brought Modi to national office — and more as a muscular nationalist firmly rooted in the Hindu right wing movement, a turn that made many liberals and minority Indians nervous.
The Congress, led by the scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, struggled to make headway with voters.
The key challenge for Rahul Gandhi was to capitalize on the subdued economic mood to rebuild what was once a formidable national party machine that occupied the center-ground in Indian politics.