What are Indian voters promised
Already in the late morning the drums are booming at the market in Saket, young men march through the district in the Indian capital, screaming, waving the saffron-colored flags of the BJP. In the coffee shop on the corner, people stare at the screen, where the results of the national election have been ticking since morning. The count made it clear early on: Narendra Modi will achieve a brilliant victory, the opposition Congress Party and its allies have been defeated, the prime minister will continue to rule.
Many believed that Modi would make it all over again. But such a clear victory comes as a surprise, especially in view of the sluggish reforms and the gloomy situation on the Indian labor market. Even Modi, who is always in charge, has not managed to create work for the Indian youth in the five years. But anyone who observes the scenes on the street that day sees nothing of the sadness and frustration, only the joyful celebration of the BJP supporters: They believe in their prime minister, they rally around this man who still gives them hope - in spite of everything.
Critics lament slogans against Muslims and the divisive strategy of the Hindu nationalists
He has completed more than 200 election campaigns in the past few months, all across 27 Indian states. In doing so, he rhetorically thrashed the opposition in a way that it had hardly ever seen before. Even the prime minister's body language sometimes looked threatening, less confident than usual, he looked tense, which some suggested that Modi might not be so sure of his victory himself.
But now his triumph can no longer be shaken. Modis BJP and its allies needed 282 seats; according to the data from Thursday afternoon, the prime minister's camp was heading for 345 seats, a very comfortable lead with which he is now entering a second term in office. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a former colonel and MP for the BJP, said at the moment of triumph that Modi led his party "like an army" and that his victory showed everyone: "India is powerful."
All over the country this Thursday, BJP supporters flock to their party's election campaign headquarters. During a triumphal procession in the afternoon, they also celebrate party leader Amit Shah like a king. Shah is Modi's closest confidante and organized the election campaign for him. The party leader was able to invest a lot of money and rely on an extensive network at the grassroots level, dominated by the cadre organization of the Hindu nationalists, the RSS.
These forces have often mobilized their voters with anti-Muslim slogans. Critics complain about the divisive strategy, but the BJP does not get involved in these discussions. Rather, she emphasizes that she has gathered voters from all walks of life, across all caste boundaries. This party's populism targets the vast majority of Hindus. And as long as this stands by Narendra Modi, he does not have to fear the sharp criticism of the intellectual strata of India, which has increased significantly in the past few months. However, these votes were hardly reflected in the election results.
For a long time nothing is seen of Rahul Gandhi, the defeated leader of the Congress Party, then he briefly steps in front of the journalists to congratulate his rival Modi. As befits an Indian citizen, he accepts the decision, says Gandhi, but at this bitter moment he did not want to explain what went wrong for Congress. For the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which dominated Indian politics for decades since independence, it will now be very difficult to assert itself as a counterweight to the BJP.
It is debated whether Modi took advantage of the confrontation with Pakistan
Vijay Jolly, one of the leaders of the BJP, resisted declarations on NDTV that Modi was able to use the confrontation with Pakistan to collect votes as the protector of the nation. Jolly said that the prime minister only reacted to the events and done his duty. Critics of the prime minister, however, interpret the BJP's strategy differently, arguing that the party had built up a nationalist front for the election with Pakistan during the crisis, according to the motto: Whoever is now against Modi is also opposing India.
In his campaign speeches, the prime minister consistently focused on the threat from outside and presented himself as the nation's "watchman". This strategy was clearly different from the 2014 race, when Modi strongly emphasized the idea of developing India for everyone. Back then he kept bringing his own rise from the son of a tea seller to the top of politics into play. This should convey to people that they too will be given a chance to lift themselves out of poverty and work their way up.
In front of the BJP headquarters in Delhi there is cheering for hours on Thursday, the crowd under the saffron-colored flags is enormous, everyone is waiting for Modi, their hero. But then a heavy thunderstorm and rain falls over the capital, the storm abruptly ends the exuberant party. Sieger Modi arrives, but withdraws to the meeting of his party without speaking.
The prime minister had previously posted an initial tweet: "Together we grow, together we blossom," he wrote in a flowery way. When the rain is over in the evening, Modi steps on the stage, he looks tired, but much more relaxed than during the election campaign speeches. "I bow to 1.3 billion people," he called out into the crowd. May he dedicate this victory to the Indian people. And he advises the helpers of his party that they should remain humble in triumph, they would all have to keep working hard now. After all, he calls the 2019 elections a "judgment for the new India", which he pronounced when he won his first victory in 2014.
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