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India’s Congress party concedes election defeat

16th May 2014
India’s Congress party concedes election defeat

The ruling Congress party has conceded defeat in India, following reports of a clear lead for the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies. Prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi helped the new leadership into office.

Narendra Modi will be the next prime minister of India, after early election results on Friday put his pro-business Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and allies well on course to clear the majority of 272 seats required to govern. Even by itself, the BJP appeared close to an outright majority.

The ruling Congress party acknowledged the results on Friday.

“We accept defeat. We are ready to sit in the opposition,” senior Congressleader 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.”

Modi ran on a campaign of pro-business policies and reduced corruption, in a hotly-contested election with record turnout of 66.38 percent, compared to 58-13 percent last time out in 2009. Around 500 million people participated in India mammoth ballot, which began on April 7.

BJP staff and campaigners celebrated at party headquarters in New Delhi, dancing outside and setting off firecrackers, saying the results outstripped their expectations.

“That certainly is good news, which we will savor with great delight,” party spokeswoman Nirmala Seetharaman said, adding it showed Modi and the voters had connected.

Exit polls on NDTV and CNN-IBN forecast that the BJP’s coalition, the National Democratic Alliance, was on course to win between 316 and 328 seats in India’s parliament.

India’s Election Commission was scheduled to announce finalized results later on Friday.

msh/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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