India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is heading for a landslide election victory to secure a second five-year term.
Election Commission data on Thursday, May 23 shows that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won 92 seats and is leading in 211 other constituencies, out of 542 seats in the Lower House of Parliament.
BJP’s main rival, the Indian National Congress, has won 25 seats and is leading in 26 others. Leader of the opposition party, Rahul Gandhi, the son of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has accepted a personal defeat, marking the end of an era for modern India’s main political family.
Gandhi lost his seat to his BJP rival in Amethi, a constituency in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh that has for decades had been a Congress party stronghold. He is, however, gaining in the race for another seat he contested in the southern state of Kerala.
While the final tally is not expected until Friday, it is clear that Modi has won a decisive victory on Thursday’s vote count. Hundreds of jubilant supporters greeted Modi as he arrived at the party’s headquarters.
Thursday’s resounding victory is an affirmation for Modi who is the first leader since 1971 to secure a single-party majority twice consecutively. He is considered the most popular politician in India since Indira Gandhi, according to a BBC News report.
Findings from a study by the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) reveals that almost one-third of BJP voters reported that if Modi were not BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, they would have supported the opposition party.
The Indian people regard the 68-year-old leader as their savior, with all the answers to their problems. While Modi’s economic policies get mixed outcomes, his reputation as a social underdog in India’s stratified society has certainly sealed his popularity.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press and the BBC News