Thursday 17 October 2019

Modi pledges to unite country after rare back-to-back poll win


Narendra Modi greets his supporters. Photo: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Narendra Modi greets his supporters. Photo: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Alasdair Pal

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to unite the country after a big election win, with his party on course to increase its majority on a mandate of business-friendly policies and a tough stand on national security.

Official data from the Election Commission showed Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead in 300 of the 542 seats contested, up from the 282 it won in 2014 and more than the 272 needed for a majority in the lower house of parliament.

That would give it the first back-to-back majority for a single party since 1984.

"Together we will build a strong and inclusive India," Mr Modi said on Twitter.

His victory boosted financial markets as investors expect his government to continue to pursue economic reforms.

However, he will be under pressure to provide work for tens of millions of young people coming on to the job market.

"The immediate challenges are to address employment, agricultural income and revive the banking sector," said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at Care Ratings.

Making good on the promise of unity will be difficult as the campaign was divisive, with minority Muslim communities claiming they were treated as second-class citizens.

Irish Independent

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