India's pro-business Modi storms to historic election win
Opposition candidate Narendra Modi thundered to victory today in India's election, with partial results showing that the pro-business Hindu nationalist and his party trounced the ruling Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in a seismic political shift.
Modi's landslide, the most resounding election victory India has seen in 30 years, was welcomed with a blistering rally on India's stock markets and raucous celebrations at offices across the country of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), where supporters danced, exploded fireworks and gave out sweets.
The BJP looked certain of a parliamentary majority, giving the 63-year-old former tea-seller ample room to advance economic reforms which were started 23 years ago by current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but stalled in recent years.
Singh's Congress party suffered its worst ever wipeout, a big boost to Modi's goal of ending the dominance of the Nehru-Gandhi family that has governed for most of the 67 years of independent India.
Singh, whose party looked set to win less than 50 of the 543 parliamentary seats at stake, congratulated Modi with a telephone call.
Crowds surged around Modi's car after he visited his mother's home in the western state of Gujarat, where he has been chief minister since 2001.
He sent a message saying "India has won" that instantly set a record as the country's most retweeted Twitter post.
The desire for change has been so strong that voters put aside concerns about Modi's Hindu-centric politics.
"I'm so happy because all of India wanted a strong government," shouted software engineer Vinod Rai at the BJP's Delhi headquarters. Rai echoed the sentiments of millions of Indians who bought into Modi's promises of job creation and economic growth to satisfy a bulging youth population.
With more than six times the seats of its closest rival, Modi's is the most decisive mandate for a leader since the 1984 assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi propelled her son to office. Since 1989, India has been governed by coalitions.
The BJP had already won or was winning in 283 seats in parliament, counting trends showed, comfortably across the halfway mark of 272 required to rule. An alliance led by the party was ahead in 338 seats, TV channel NDTV said.