The largest election in human history has finished. 551 million votes cast. Holograms were deployed by the successful candidate so that he could address 100 meetings at once. The result: a landslide for India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the controversial Hindu nationalist who has won power because of his promise of economic reform – of “toilets not temples” – despite suspicions that he turned a blind eye to mass killings of Muslims in his state in 2002.
Amid much consternation, India’s annual GDP growth has fallen below a torpid five per cent – which sounds marvellous to us but will not create the 13 million jobs needed each year – with high inflation and the country is also home to one-third of the world’s poor. Can Mr Modi be the man to turn India into a superpower? Will a rising economic tide lift all boats? Can he satisfy the 100 million young, first-time voters who helped to lift him to office? We cover his election here – our Asia Correspondent Andy Buncombe reports from the carnival scenes in Delhi.
The world’s largest democracy was founded on principles of pluralism and tolerance, principles that its new leader has spent several decades attacking. One in seven of Mr Modi’s countrymen is Muslim, and peace talks with neighbouring Pakistan must be revived. Regional stability depends on him steering clear of sectarianism.
Before long we will be seeing Mr Modi here: the UK froze ties with him from 2002-12 because of the slaughter, but Downing Street has confirmed that he has accepted an invitation to visit Britain. More on that soon.