An historic win After 30 years of coalition governments at the Centre, Narendra Modi has powered the BJP. Underlining the humiliation of India’s oldest party, vice-president Rahul Gandhi was struggling against the BJP’s Smriti Irani in the Gandhi family bastion of Amethi, where anything less than a big win would be a disaster.
Modi led the BJP back to power after a decade in Opposition, taking advantage of public anger at Congress for uncontrolled high prices, corruption scams and rising unemployment.
The triumph capped an amazing run for the 63-year-old chief minister of Gujarat, who ran a high-voltage campaign that rewrote the political rulebook and caught his rivals napping.
And the Congress’ incumbency problems were compounded by the listless campaign run by Rahul, who failed to grab the public imagination.
“This is not just a victory, it is a big responsibility for us to live up to the expectations of the people,” said BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain.
At 10:30am, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance led in 315 seats, comfortably hurdling the 272 halfway mark needed to grab power. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was limping in at 70, heading for its worst-ever tally.