NEW DELHI (AP) — It's the most decisive election victory India has seen in more than a quarter of a century.
Partial results have made it clear that opposition leader Narenda Modi (MOH'-dee) will be the country's next prime minister -- sweeping the Congress party from power in today's elections.
Modi is a Hindu nationalist, and there are fears that his election could worsen sectarian tension between India's majority Hindus and its 138 million Muslims. He is a divisive figure in India, in large part because he was in charge of a state where communal rioting killed more than 1,000 people in 2002 -- most of them Muslims. He was accused of doing little to stop the rampage. He was later denied a U.S. visa for alleged complicity in the riots -- though as prime minister, he would be virtually assured a visa.
As his overwhelming win became clear, Modi appeared before a crowd of cheering supporters and tried to strike a conciliatory note. He said he wants to run a government that "carries everyone with it."
The outcome was a crushing defeat for the Congress party, which is closely linked to the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty that has been at the center of Indian politics for most of the country's post-independence history.
127-a-14-(Sharad Pradhan (shah-RAHD prah-DAHN'), political analyst, in AP interview)-"a Modi wave"-Political analyst Sharad Pradhan says the personal magnetism of Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi was enough to oust the long-dominant Congress party. ((Narendra Modi is pronounced nuh-REHN'-druh MOH'-dee)) (16 May 2014)
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129-r-08-(Sound of drumming and whistles, as Modi supporters dance in the streets near party headquarters)--Sound of drumming as Modi supporters danced in the streets near party headquarters. (16 May 2014)
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GRAPHICSBANK: Narendra Modi (l), as Opposition leader and India's next prime minister, and his mother Hiraben (r), flashes the victory symbol, Gandhinagar, India, graphic element on gray (16 May 2014)
APPHOTO DELX111: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters write congratulatory messages for their leader Narendra Modi on a giant board at their party headquarters in New Delhi, India, Friday, May 16, 2014. Modi will be India's next prime minister, winning the most decisive election victory the country has seen in more than a quarter century and sweeping the long-dominant Congress party from power, partial results showed Friday. (AP Photo /Manish Swarup) (16 May 2014)
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APPHOTO DELX109: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters dance to celebrate election results outside their party office in Bangalore, India, Friday, May 16, 2014. India's opposition leader Narendra Modi and his party won national elections in a landslide Friday, preliminary results showed, driving the long-dominant Congress party out of power in the most commanding victory India has seen in more than a quarter century. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi) (16 May 2014)
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