NEW DELHI—India's voters chose
a Hindu-nationalist, pro-business politician to be their next prime minister—tossing
out the party that has led the country for most of the past 67 years in a
historic political realignment.
Riding a wave of voter
discontent with the incumbent Congress party and a sharply slowing economy, the
Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Narendra Modi, was on track Friday evening to
win 282 of the 545 seats in the lower house of Parliament, according to the
If so, it would be the
first time in three decades that a single party has won so decisively and
captured an outright legislative majority, something that would give the BJP a
strong position from which to push its governing agenda.
Congress—the party that
led India's freedom struggle against the colonial British, and is controlled by
the Nehru-Gandhi family—appeared to be holding on to roughly 44 seats, its
lowest tally ever, the Election Commission said.
The vote was a surprisingly
broad repudiation of Congress's welfare-focused approach to policy-making and
endorsement of Mr. Modi's call for more effective governance and
business-friendly measures to create jobs and drive growth.
"I didn't get a
chance to sacrifice my life in India's freedom struggle, but I have the chance
to dedicate myself to good governance," Mr. Modi said to cheers in a
victory speech in his home state of Gujarat on Friday night. "I will
develop this country. I will take it to new heights."
Mr. Modi tapped into the
frustrations of a generation of Indians who climbed out of poverty in the past
decade, but who have been prevented—by slowing growth and a lack of
employment—from joining the middle classes. It is a generation that aspires to
better work opportunities, a higher standard of living and world-class
"Modi will change
the country 100%," said Vijay Thakur, a 31-year-old cabdriver in Gujarat.
"He will bring rapid development, he will bring foreign companies to
India, everyone will have jobs."
for the full article in the Wall Street Journal.