Modi emerges victorious, prepares for transition
NEW DELHI (CNN) — Fresh from a landslide victory, Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party celebrated in a parade, as supporters lined the streets in the capital, waving flags of the party and holding balloons.
Modi’s party won 282 of 543 parliamentary seats, according to the country’s election commission, bringing a clear majority and a resounding mandate to a single party to rule the world’s largest democracy.
Modi, 63, is expected to officially be sworn in as India’s new Prime Minister on May 21. He will have to shoulder great expectations, as voters flocked to his party on his pledge to reform the nation’s slowed economy.
Prime Minister says goodbye
Meanwhile, the outgoing Prime Minister Manmoahn Singh submitted his resignation and made his last address to the nation recalling his background from the subcontinent’s bloody division into India and Pakistan in 1947.
“I owe everything to this country, this great land of ours where I, an underprivileged child of (the) partition, was empowered enough to rise and occupy high office. It is both a debt that I will never be able to repay and a decoration that I will always wear with pride,” Singh said.
Singh, 82, leaves the office with a divided legacy. While his performance as finance minister in the 1990s has been praised for opening up India’s economy, his recent years as prime minister were pockmarked by a spate of high-profile corruption scandals involving his Congress Party, as well as stalled reforms and a drop in growth.
“Friends, I am confident about the future of India. I firmly believe that the emergence of India as a major powerhouse of the evolving global economy is an idea whose time has come,” Singh said in his TV address.
He concluded his speech by wishing Modi’s government well and saying he prayed for “even greater successes for our nation.”
Modi is widely viewed as pro-business and pro-growth. India’s stock market surged Friday as initial results suggested a huge lead for Modi and his party.
The former tea seller sprang into the national spotlight for his work in the state of Gujarat, where he cultivated an image of a man who gets things done.
Gujarat, which contains 60 million people, has seen China-like rates of growth in recent years, which the rest of the country has eyed enviously. The “Gujarat model” of development means a focus on infrastructure, urbanization and eradicating red tape.
His past is not without controversy. Throughout his campaign, his relationship with the country’s huge Muslim minority came under scrutiny.
In 2002, Gujarat state was wracked with anti-Muslim violence, in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. Modi, the state’s chief minister, was criticized for not doing enough to halt the violence, but a Supreme Court-ordered investigation absolved him of blame last year.
The United States denied Modi a visa in 2005 over the anti-Muslim violence, but on Friday, President Barack Obama called Modi to congratulate him on winning the election and to invite him to Washington, according to the White House.
The visa issue could add to what has already been a strained relationship between the two nations — complicated by a case involving an Indian diplomat who was arrested last year in New York.
By Harmeet Shah Singh and Madison Park
CNN’s Ravi Agrawal and Mallika Kapur contributed to this report.