Landslide victory for Modi in India

Narenda Modi and his party are headed for a resounding election victory in India.

Narenda Modi and his party are headed for a resounding election victory in India.Picture:Stock.XCHNG.

NEW DELHI - Opposition candidate Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister of India, with counting trends showing the pro-business Hindu nationalist and his party headed for the most resounding election victory the country has seen in thirty years.

Modi's landslide win was welcomed with a thundering rally on India's stock markets and raucous celebrations at offices across the country of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), where supporters danced, exploded fireworks and handed out sweets.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose Congress party headed for a crushing defeat, telephoned Modi to congratulate him on his success, the prime minister's office said.

Crowds surged around Modi's car after he visited his mother's home in the western state of Gujarat. He sent a message saying "India has won," that instantly set a record as the country's most retweeted Twitter post.

"I'm so happy because all of India wanted a strong government," said software engineer Vinod Rai as he embraced friends and shouted in joy at the BJP's Delhi headquarters, his forehead smeared with vermillion red.

The party was headed for a majority in parliament, giving Modi the most decisive mandate for any leader since the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi propelled her son to office. Since 1989, India has been governed by coalitions.

The BJP was winning in 277 seats of the 543-seat parliament, counting trends showed. An alliance led by the party was ahead in 336 seats, TV channel NDTV said.

Responding to the news Indian markets got off to a roaring start.

Betting on a Modi win, foreign investors have poured more than $16 billion into Indian stocks and bonds in the past six months and now hold over 22 percent of Mumbai-listed equities - a stake estimated by Morgan Stanley at almost $280 billion.

Unlike his predecessors, Modi will not have to deal with unruly partners as he implements reform. That could usher in profound economic changes, and he will try to replicate his success in attracting investment and building infrastructure in Gujarat, the state he has governed for 12 years.

"He can afford to have a smaller but stronger cabinet that means a far more decisive government. He has been saying less government and more governance, we are really likely to see that," said Navneet Munot, Chief Investment Officer at SBI Funds management in Mumbai.

But with India's economy suffering its worst slowdown since the 1980s and battling high inflation, it will not be an easy task to meet the hopes of millions of Indians who have bought into the idea that Modi will quickly push their country onto the top table of global economic powers.

"People will not give him much time to deliver," said Neerja Chowdhury, a political analyst and a former political editor of the Indian Express newspaper. "On the economic reform agenda, I think he will move very quickly ... he's a doer and he's very focused."