With a ‘secular’ India having accomplished no major miracles, it is now up to a rising Hindu India to take up the challenge. The 200 million strong Muslims clearly did not have any great qualms about this as Modi’s “saffron” party swept the 2014 Indian polls.
Reportedly backed in full force by “Big Business”, the Congress Party suffered an ignominious defeat winning only 42 seats against the BJP’s 270.
Conceded was that Manmohan Singh ushered in the economic reforms that “changed the face of India”, but it was not enough as Modi’s development plank of the “Gujarat Model” was clearly more persuasive in the face of rising prices and low employment and, with their victory the BJP declared “the start of a new era” in the world’s biggest democracy.
Elected three times as chief minister in his home state, Narendra Modi was denied entry by the US and EU countries for a decade over the 2002 riots in Gujarat that left around 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead. He denies having anything to do with the bloodshed and instead focused his attention on promising jobs.
The stunning results far exceeded expectations. “This is the beginning of change, a people’s revolution and the start of a new era,” rejoiced senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar as media projections showed the BJP winning more than the 272 seats required for a majority on its own in the 543-seat parliament. Ancillary victories by BJP allies took the winning tally to over 300.
Stock markets, which had risen 5.0% prior to the announcement of the results, surged again with
investors and the public reportedly showing optimism after years of low economic growth, rising food prices and rampant corruption.
“Modi has reinvented himself from a controversial regional leader accused of turning a blind eye to religious riots in 2002” wrote the Times of India and, “expectations are sky-high of what Modi will deliver in a chaotic and still poor country that is home to a sixth of humanity”.
Modi, the 63-year-old son of a tea seller, who owes part of his political success to his humble beginnings, elated on his Twitter account, “India has won. Good days are coming”.