NEW DELHI: India's triumphant Hindu nationalists declared “the start of a new era” in the world's second most-populous nation as the ruling Congress declared defeat in elections that laid bare anger about sickly economic growth and rampant corruption.
Narendra Modi, making his first comments on results day in his constituency of Vadodara in his home state of Gujarat, where thousands chanted his name, told supporters that “good times are coming” as he thanked them for their “love” which propelled him and his Hindu nationalist party to a historic election win.
Preliminary results and media projections at the climax of the marathon six-week election showed the BJP on track for the first parliamentary majority by a single party in 30 years.
The BJP had won 133 seats and was leading in 148 others takin its total tally to 283 seats which is 11 more than the 272 seat required to form a majority government, according to the statistics provided by the Indian election commission website.
The stunning results exceeded all forecasts, as firecrackers exploded at party offices around the country and sweets were handed out in celebrations that began only a few hours after the first figures filtered out.
“This is the beginning of change, a people's revolution and the start of a new era,” senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar told AFP at party headquarters in New Delhi.
The Congress party, the national secular force that has run India for all but 13 years since independence, was set to crash to its worst ever result after a decade in power.
“We accept defeat. We are ready to sit in the opposition,” senior Congress leader and spokesman Rajeev Shukla told reporters at party headquarters in New Delhi.
“Modi promised the moon and stars to the people. People bought that dream,”he added.
Media projections showed the BJP winning more than the 272 seats required for a majority on its own, with victories by its allies taking it easily in excess of 300.
Stock markets, which have risen 5.0 per cent in the past week, surged again.
The benchmark Sensex index jumped more than six per cent on Friday to a record high.
The disastrous showing for Congress is another blow to the scion of the Gandhi dynasty, 43-year-old Rahul, whose first performance as chief campaigner will likely lead to dissent.
The country's most illustrious political family has provided three prime ministers but preliminary results showed Rahul with only a wafer-thin lead in his constituency of Amethi.
Singh calls Modi to congratulate him on election victory
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Narendra Modi to congratulate him on his party's thumping victory in the country's general election,
Singh's office said in a tweet.
“Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh calls Shri Narendra Modi and congratulated him on his party's victory in the Lok Sabha (parliamentary) elections,” he said on his official Twitter account.
Moreover, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called India's Narendra Modi on Friday to congratulate him on his party's landslide general election win.
A statement from Sharif's office said he spoke to Modi, leader of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to hail the “impressive victory”.