India election results 2019: Narendra Modi secures landslide win

(BBC)Indian PM Narendra Modi has secured another five-year term after winning a landslide general election victory.

His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks set to win about 300 of the 543 seats in parliament, in what Mr Modi hailed as “a historic mandate”.

The main opposition alliance, which is headed by Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party, has admitted defeat.

The vote had been widely viewed as a referendum on the prime minister’s Hindu nationalist politics.

“We all want a new India. I want to bow down my head and say thank you,” Mr Modi said in a victory address to BJP supporters on Thursday evening.

More than 600 million people voted in a marathon six-week process.

Mr Modi has not just exceeded exit poll predictions but has also won a larger share of the vote than the 2014 elections, partial results show.

At a press conference in Delhi, Mr Gandhi conceded the general election as well as his Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh, which he had held since 2004 and his family had held for decades.

What are the numbers?

Partial and declared results show Mr Modi’s BJP is projected to win 300 seats on its own, and combined with the party’s allies, this number reaches nearly 350.

The main opposition Congress party is expected to win fewer than 60.

A party or coalition needs at least 272 seats to secure a majority in the 543-member lower house of parliament, or Lok Sabha.

What challenges does Modi face?

In his victory speech, Mr Modi said there were only two castes in India now. “The poor and those who want to work to bring them out of poverty. We need to empower both.”

Growing unemployment and fears of a recession will see Mr Modi face demands to provide jobs for the millions of young people entering the labour market in coming months.

Under his first term, India’s economy – the world’s sixth largest – lost some of its momentum. A leaked government report this year put the unemployment rate at the highest it’s been since the 1970s.

Farmers in India will also be hoping he will prioritise the agricultural industry, after a crop glut and declining commodity prices saw their incomes stagnate.

Many saw this election as a battle for India’s identity and the protection of minorities. A strident – and at times violent – Hindu nationalism has become mainstream in the past five years, with increased attacks against minorities, including the lynching of dozens of Muslims accused of smuggling cows. And national security was put into the spotlight after a suicide attack by a Pakistan-based militant group killed at least 40 paramilitary police in Indian-administered Kashmir in February. India then launched unprecedented air strikes in Pakistan, prompting it to respond in kind and bringing the two countries to the brink of war.

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