Narendra Modi, 63, is set to become India’s new prime minister as vote tallying reaches its end today, according to The Washington Post.
The Washington Post reports Modi’s victory comes at a pivotal time in India, as the job growth has dropped, inflation has soared and investors have pulled funds due to the country’s slow bureaucracy.
Here’s what you need to know about Modi:
1.He Is The Leader of the Hindu Nationalist Party
As the leader of the Hindu Nationalist Party, Modi ran on a platform of increasing economic growth in India after the country’s economy hit its worst slowdown since the 1980s, according to The Guardian.
After news of his landslide victory spread, India’s stock market surged and the rupee strengthened 1 percent in a 10-month high against the dollar, CNN Money reports.
Forbes reports Modi’s election could usher in an era of a strong and decisive national government, free from pressure to align with regional goals.
2. He Is A Divisive Figure
Although Modi won a landslide election in India, he’s not without his share of critics. Modi’s reputation is clouded by a series of Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002, in which nearly 1,000 people, majority Muslim, died due to mob violence, according to Reuters. Modi claimed he did all he could to contain the violence in his home state of Gujarat and a Supreme Court case determined he could not be held responsible for the riots.
The U.S. government denied rejected Modi’s visa application in 2005 due to his role in the riots, but India Express reports he would be granted a diplomatic visa by the U.S. as prime minister.
Both The White House and the Senate have congratulated Modi on his victory, hoping to reset U.S.-India relations.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also congratulated Modi on his “impressive victory” by phone on Friday, according to Hindustan Times. Reuters reports Sharif has invited Modi to visit Pakistan, admitting the visit will take time but the invitation is there.
3. His Victory Speech Promised Growth for the Entire Country
Watch video above of Modi’s first victory speech, delivered before a roaring crowd in the city of Vadodara, in his home state of Gujarat.
The Economic Times reports Modi promised inclusive growth throughout India as prime minister, saying:
“Government is for the common man. It is time to no die but live for the nation.”
4.Modi’s Party Defeated a Party Led by Rahul Gandhi
The National Congress Party’s chief campaigner was Rahul Gandhi, the party’s vice president. Gandhi is the descendant of three Indian priministers. He is the son of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the grandson of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Both his father and grandmother were assassinated, in 1984 and 1991, respectively. Rahul Gandhi will keep his seat in Parliament in spite of his party’s loss.
Gandhi’s Italian-born mother, Sonia Gandhi, is the National Congress Party’s president.
5. Modi’s Party Won in a Landslide
The Bharatiya Janata Party, known as the BJP, routed the Indian National Congress Party, which took the brunt of the blame for India’s lagging economy and a host of scandals.
Time reports Indian industrialists have wanted Congress to pass more pro-business policies and said Modi’s decisive leadership style will help the Indian economy return to a period of high growth.
The New York Times reports on BJP’s victory:
After two hours of counting, the B.J.P., as it is known, was assured of winning more than 272 seats, enough to form a government without brokering a coalition deal with any of India’s fractious regional leaders. That would give Mr. Modi the strongest mandate of any Indian leader since Rajiv Gandhi took office in 1984, riding the wave of sympathy that followed the assassination of his mother, Indira Gandhi.