More than 550 million votes cast over a period of 5 weeks marked the 16th Lok Sabha elections in the country. As election officials began counting the votes today morning, a clear trend had been established, favouring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi.
Touted as one of the largest democratic shows globally, the 16th Lok Sabha election in India has caught everyone’s attention; both nationally and globally. With high profile candidates and fierce campaigning that the nation hasn’t seen in years, the elections this year have turned out to be one of the top topics for every media publication around the world.
India’s future has been decided and the new Prime Minister in waiting has become the focus of all attention. While some of the foreign publications have welcomed the change in leadership, majority have raised their doubts and concerns over the road ahead for India.
The Wall Street Journal stated that the poll results looked like a rejection of Congress’ approach to policy making. They said, “The vote appeared to be a surprisingly broad repudiation of Congress's welfare-focused approach to policy-making and an endorsement of Mr. Modi's call for more effective governance and more business-friendly measures to create jobs and drive growth.”
The New Republic - an online magazine in the US, has described Modi as a leader known for his economic agenda and his controversial brand of Hinduism. While they positively regard his development policies, they do not seem to be very confident about the social development indicators that he presides on.
CNN has described Modi as a deeply polarising figure and an unproven commodity on the international stage. According to them, “Analysts predict Modi’s arrival in the country's top office will bring a marked change in direction for the world's most populous democracy, a nation whose modern character has been defined by the inclusive, secular and liberal approach of the Congress Party, which has governed for most of the post-independence era.”
A lead opinion piece in CNN, by journalist and blogger Sunny Hundal, takes a critical stand on Modi. Along with focusing on Modi’s shortcomings as a leader and his controversial involvement in the 2002 Godhra riots, Hundal says, “If a Prime Minister Modi carries on like he did as Chief Minister of Gujarat state and as the candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during campaigning, there are plenty of reasons to be worried about the future. The future Modi is a terrifying prospect if he is based on the past Modi.”
The New York Times on the other hand have a more positive outlook on the new Indian leadership. They state that Modi, a man with a humble background, would prove to be a stark departure from his predecessors. They further say, “His image as a stern, disciplined leader has attracted vast throngs of voters, who hope he will crack down on corruption, jump-start India’s flagging economy and create manufacturing jobs.”
India however, has welcomed Modi's landslide win with a thundering rally on the stock markets and jubilant celebrations across the country. His supporters have danced, exploded fireworks and handed out sweets, to express their joy over the poll results.