India’s ruling party promises growth, Latest World News - The New Paper

India’s ruling party promises growth

This article is more than 12 months old

Modi's government is confident of victory ahead of the votes count

NEW DELHI : India's ruling coalition has promised to rev up growth, double farmers' income and boost infrastructure spending in the next five years after exit polls showed it would retain power when general election votes are counted today.

Exit polls have predicted an outright majority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's alliance in the seven-phase election that ended on Sunday.

Such surveys have proved misleading before, and the main opposition Congress party yesterday dismissed them as fake.

The coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which is led by Mr Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), met in New Delhi on Tuesday confident of victory.

"The NDA has resolved to speed up economic growth and fulfil the needs of the people in the next five years of our government," Home Minister Rajnath Singh, also a senior member of the BJP, told reporters.

Six of the seven exit polls conducted have predicted the NDA will comfortably exceed the majority mark of 272 seats in parliament's lower house.

But Congress has dismissed the polls and urged its workers to remain vigilant at centres where votes are being stored before today's count.

"The next 24 hours are important, stay alert and vigilant," its president, Mr Rahul Gandhi, said on Twitter yesterday, addressing party workers.

"Don't be scared. You are fighting for the truth. Don't be disheartened by the false propaganda of fake exit polls. Believe in yourself and the Congress party, your hard work will not go in vain."

But analysts say another bad showing by Congress would prompt questions over the leadership of the Nehru-Gandhi family, which has dominated politics for decades.


Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, whose regional party is part of the NDA, said the election had unleashed a "tsunami" of support for Mr Modi.

Political analysts say the result could cement Mr Modi's dominant position in politics while undermining the role of Congress and opening up space for newer parties.

"If the exit polls are to be believed, Modi's image as the incorruptible defender of the faith and nation has triumphed once again," said Mr Nikhil Menon, assistant professor of history at the University of Notre Dame.

"Narendra Modi may well be leading his party into an era of electoral dominance."

While nearly two dozen opposition parties have complained to the election panel of attempts to tamper with voting machines, it has rejected the accusation. - REUTERS