27 June 2017

Modi's Win Heralds New Era in India

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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 Election Commission.

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 infrastructure.

"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."

Click here for the full article in the Wall Street Journal.

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