Parliamentary elections in India: Modi sees himself as the winner

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General Election in India

Not all votes have yet been counted, but supporters of the ruling BJP are already celebrating the preliminary figures. Criticism comes from the opposition.

Cheering crowds celebrate the victory of the BJP in India after counting some of the results.

They are already celebrating: supporters of the ruling BJP in New Delhi Photo: ap

NEW DELHI ap | Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed victory in parliamentary elections for his party. According to election commission figures, his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is in the lead for 299 of the 542 parliamentary seats. BJP President Amit Shah called his party election winner. Modes themselves tweeted: “India is winning again.”

Modi has been ruling since 2014. His biggest challenger, Rahul Gandhi's Congress party, was leading 50 seats, according to preliminary results. What percentage of votes were counted on early Thursday afternoon (local time) was not communicated. A final result was expected at the earliest for the evening.

The election was considered a referendum on Modi's policy of the past five years. His economic reforms were not very successful, but he is popular throughout the social strata. Critics say that its policy of “Hindus first” causes social tensions in the country with 1.3 billion inhabitants.

In the campaign, Modi presented himself as a self-made man who dares to unleash India's economic potential. He portrayed his rival Gandhi as part of an elite elite. Gandhi is a scion of India's most important modern political dynasty, which lost power in 2014.

Congratulations from Israel and China

Already on Sunday, when elections in the world's largest democracy ended after just under six weeks and with 900 million registered voters, half a dozen polls indicated victory for Modi. “Modi will be the next prime minister, we are very sure,” said Meenakshi Lekhi, a member of the current parliament in New Delhi. By mid-morning, the Indian Sensex had risen 2.3 percent to an all-time high of over 40,000.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and neighbors China and Sri Lanka, Xi Jinping and Maithripala Sirisena, tweeted congratulations.

In front of the BJP Party headquarters in New Delhi, hundreds of people cheered and shouted party slogans, portraying portraits of Modi and Shah. Others drummed and lit firecrackers. Shah cited Modi's leadership as the reason for the alleged victory.

Criticism of the voting machines

29-year-old vendor Mohit Sharma said India has never had a prime minister like Modi. Previous Prime Ministers had sat “in air-conditioned rooms” and had no contact with the population. “Modi was never like that. He has always connected with people through social media, “Sharma said. The BJP has used social media like Twitter a lot. Modi has more than 47 million followers there and also has millions of supporters via Whatsapp.

There were only a few party members in front of the convention party headquarters. They looked depressed. Fifty-year-old Jagdish Sharma blamed counting methods: “Rahul Gandhi is the darling of the masses, but he lost just because of the EVM.” EVM stands for electronic voting machines. “As long as EVM exists, even Lord Vishnu can not beat Modi,” Sharma said, referring to a powerful Hindu god.

Eligible voters in India have been voting on electronic devices for over 15 years after complaints about fraud have been made in the manual counting of ballots. Unsuccessful candidates and political parties have repeatedly expressed doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the electronic method.

. (tagsToTranslate) India (t) Narendra Modi (t) Rahul Gandhi (t) Asia (t) Politics (t) taz (t) daily newspaper

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