NEW DELHI: Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed victory Thursday in India’s general election and vowed an “inclusive” future, with his party headed for a landslide win to crush the Gandhi dynasty’s comeback hopes.
With around half the 600 million votes cast counted, Election Commission data showed Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning 300 of India’s 543 elected lower house seats.
The BJP’s main rivals Congress were on just 49 seats, with Rahul Gandhi — the great-grandson, grandson and son of three premiers — in danger of a humiliating loss in the seat held by India’s once-mighty political dynasty for generations.
“Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!,” Modi tweeted as the outcome of the world’s biggest election became clear.
The preliminary count predicts a commanding majority in the lower house for the BJP and its allies, who are on course for almost 50 additional seats.
They will still lack a majority in the upper house, however, putting a brake on Modi’s legislative agenda.
“Today’s mandate… shows that people of India have entirely uprooted casteism, nepotism and appeasement to choose nationalism and development,” tweeted BJP president Amit Shah, in a swipe at Congress and Gandhi.
Celebrations broke out at BJP offices including in Mumbai where a few hundred party supporters and workers danced, played drums, chanted slogans and waved party flags.
At Congress headquarters in Delhi, a handful of dejected supporters sat in groups under the shade of trees.