STORY: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday (March 12) that he saw his Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) victory in the assembly polls, especially in most populous Uttar Pradesh state, as the beginning of a ‘new India.’
BJP won a landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday (March 11), in a personal triumph for Modi that will strengthen his claim to a second term as national leader.
Modi personally led the campaign and was the face of his party in the state, home to one in six Indians, winning the biggest majority in the state for any party since 1977.
After receiving accolades from his party leaders, supporters and followers, Modi said the poll results in the five states brought about a new wave of positive change.
He made the comments while addressing a party gathering at BJP’s headquarters in national capital New Delhi.
“I see the elections held in these five states (Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Goa, Uttarakhand), especially in Uttar Pradesh, that has the maximum capacity to give direction, strength, and inspiration to India. It is such a big state, the election results have been announced there and I am seeing the results of polls in these five states as a new foundation (of India),” said Modi.
The BJP won 312 of the 403 seats in the state assembly and, with 39.7 percent of the vote, almost matched its showing in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 general election.
Modi added that ‘new India’ is the dream of youth, including the country’s women and its poor.
“New India is made up of the dreams of youth below 35 years of age, who constitute 65 percent of the total population. New India is made of the dreams of women who are more aware today than ever. A new India where the poor, instead of wanting to get something, are seeking opportunities to work and this is a big change in itself,” he said.
He further said that after these results, the poor do not wait for freebies anymore but want to earn and live a respectable life.
The win has raised hopes among investors that BJP will embark on a round of new reforms to boost growth in Asia’s third-largest economy, and try to tackle the corruption and red tape that has long undermined India’s potential.
Economists now expect Modi to launch initiatives aimed at flushing out ill-gotten gains from real estate, gold and campaign finance.
Modi’s BJP now heads the government in states where more than half of Indians live, while the Congress party, which has ruled India for most of the 70 years since independence, leads in regions covering less than 8 percent of the population.
Success will increase the pressure on Modi to provide for an increasingly aspirational nation of 1.3 billion people, half of whom are aged 25 or under.