By CCN: India’s grueling five-week election run has finally come to an end with incumbent prime minister Narendra Modi declaring a sweeping victory. Although votes are still being counted, all signs point to a stomping majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.
Modi stormed back to victory on the back a fierce military and nationalist platform. His bombastic nuclear threats towards Pakistan and military posturing have crystalized him as India’s strongman leader.
The election result cements Modi’s stable government after decades of shaky coalitions.
Although Modi came to power in 2014 on a manifesto of economic policies, today’s win can be equally attributed to foreign policy. Modi has long been considered a “strongman,” a perception he’s amplified throughout the election campaign.
Modi’s tough stance against Pakistan has strengthened his base and sured up support from right-leaning voters. Many, of course, are worried that Modi’s win comes at the cost of alienating religious minorities in India. Modi has galvanized the Hindu nationalist core demographic, leaving minority Muslim and Christian groups with only a smattering of votes.
One New Yorker columnist referred to Modi as an:
“Egotist who pressures the press and reacts poorly to dissent, and whose exclusionary rhetoric and policies threaten [his] nations’ core inheritances of openness and pluralism.”
World leaders including Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese President, Xi Jinping have heaped praise on the Indian prime minister. Netanyahu congratulated his “friend” and promised to strengthen their relationship.
“The election results further reaffirm your leadership of the world’s largest democracy. Together we will continue to strengthen the great friendship between India & Israel.”
China’s Xi Jinping also offered congratulations and hoped to develop a strategic friendship.
“President of People’s Republic of China , H.E. Mr Xi Jinping sent a letter to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi earlier today congratulating him on the electoral victory of National Democratic Alliance under his leadership… President Xi also expressed satisfaction at the strong momentum of development in India-China relations in recent years with the joint effort of both sides.”
The once-dominant political party in the region, Indian National Congress, faces a humiliating defeat. Congress looks set to secure just 50 seats, while Modi’s BJP scoops up more than 300.
Over 900 million Indians were eligible to vote in this year’s huge election. It’s a mammoth undertaking with over a million polling stations and voting machines.
At the time of writing, Narendra Modi’s BJP is leading in 349 seats. Modi is expected to make an official statement at 8.30am ET, but has already declared victory on social media.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.