BBC News – India election: Opposition BJP heads for landslide win

Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrate after learning of initial poll results outside their party office in Mumbai May 16

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There were joyous scenes outside the BJP’s headquarters in Delhi

The opposition Hindu nationalist BJP party has promised “good times ahead” as early results suggest it is on course for a landslide victory.

Although final results are not expected until later, the scale of the predicted victory is such that the ruling Congress party has admitted defeat.

BJP leader Narendra Modi tweeted: “India has won. Good times ahead.”

India’s election is the world’s biggest exercise in democracy, with more than 500 million voters.

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India’s main opposition BJP has risen like a phoenix from the depths of despair”

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Voter turnout in the mammoth nine-phase general election was a record 66.38%, beating the previous 1984 poll record.

‘Turning point’

Accepting defeat, the Congress Party spokesman, Shakil Ahmed, said: “We are accepting the people’s verdict in all humility.

“Trends of the counting are certainly not in our favour. The trends point out that the country has decided to vote against us,” he told the AP.

Even before the Congress party’s announcement, there were scenes of jubilation outside the BJP’s headquarters. Firecrackers exploded and people handed out sweets.

“It’s a turning point for India,” BJP leader Siddhartha Nath Singh told the BBC.

Tweets

The scale of the BJP’s victory is truly gigantic in a country where no party has managed to get a simple majority since the Congress party in 1984, the BBC’s Soutik Biswas says.

It is also a thumping endorsement for Mr Modi, who made the election a presidential-style referendum on his reputation as a no-nonsense, can-do leader who stood for development and muscular nationalism, our correspondent says.

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Narendra Modi

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The BBC’s Andrew North travelled to Narenda Modi’s home state of Gujarat

India Elections

  • The India election is the world’s biggest exercise in democracy, with 814 million eligible voters
  • It started five weeks ago and was held in nine phases for security and logistical reasons
  • A total of 551 million votes have been cast, with a record 66.38% voter turnout
  • Election officials are counting at 989 centres, with more than 1,100 observers supervising the process
  • Hundreds of thousands of security officers have also been deployed at counting centres
  • India’s parliament has 543 seats. The party or alliance which wins the majority forms the government
  • A total of 8,251 candidates stood for election

16 May 2014 | 8:22 am – Source: bbc.co.uk
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