India’s opposition leader, Narendra Modi, swept into power as prime minister-elect on Friday, as voters delivered a crushing verdict on the corruption scandals and flagging economic growth that have plagued their country in recent years.
In a victory speech in Vadodara, the city in Gujarat state where he won his own parliamentary seat in a landslide, Mr. Modi addressed a wild, chanting crowd shortly after the Indian National Congress, which has controlled India’s government for nearly all of its postcolonial history, conceded defeat.
The Congress-led government has often seemed rudderless in its second term.
Its prime minister, Manmohan Singh, a distinguished economist, was a barely audible figure on the national stage, and often appeared subordinated to the party’s president, Sonia Gandhi, who was setting the stage for her son, Rahul, to take over.
The party’s leaders responded slowly, if at all, to bursts of social media-driven street activism that coalesced around the issue of corruption, and after a brutal gang rape that shook Delhi in 2012. The party’s presumed prime ministerial candidate, Mr. Gandhi, was a stilted campaigner who always appeared a reluctant leader. In the final stage of the campaign, he ceded the spotlight to his sister, Priyanka.
In the end, Mr. Modi’s victory will be seen largely as a function of his opponents’ weakness, said the historian Ramachandra Guha.
And then this from The Hindu:
Riding a nationwide wave created substantially by his campaign, Narendra Modi won an unprecedented victory for the BJP, matched in its intensity and sweep only by the crushing defeat of the Congress in the 16th general elections.
The BJP returns to power at the Centre after 10 years. Allies will also be part of the government, though the BJP is not dependent on any for numbers.
“Good days are ahead,” tweeted Mr. Modi as soon as trends became clear, reiterating the words of his campaign jingle ‘Acche din aanewale hain’ that had inspired hope among people and created a hype around his persona.
The BJP won a simple majority for the first time, only the second time a non-Congress party has done so. The BJP also became the first party since 1984 to get a majority on its own.
In its worst performance, the Congress won less than one third of its 1977 tally of 154, when a massive anti-Congress wave swept India after the Emergency.
And here’s the New York Times’ editorial.
The last time we went to India was right after the rape in Delhi mentioned in the New York Times story. It’ll be interesting to see how things are playing out.
Posted by Steve