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Indian Election Changes Ruling Party

May 18, 2014
Plain English Version
Bharatiya Janata party leader Narendra Modi, left, with his 90-year-old mother, Hirabenat. Foreign Photo Service/Zuma Press

Bharatiya Janata party leader Narendra Modi, left, with his 90-year-old mother, Hirabenat. Foreign Photo Service/Zuma Press

The Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) won a big victory in India’s recent election. It won 282 of 545 seats in the lower house of Parliament.

The biggest news is that it defeated the Congress party. The Congress party had been in power for more than 60 years. It is the party of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Victory came because the leader of BJP, Narendi Modi, promised major changes in the nation’s policies. He is pro-business.  He said, “I did not get the chance to sacrifice my life in India’s struggle for freedom. I have the chance to dedicate myself to good governance. I will develop this country. I will take it to new heights.”

He comes to office with some “baggage.” He is the governor of the state of Gujarat. Riots in 2002 in Gujarat killed more than 1,000 people, most of whom were Muslims. He is said to be a Hindu nationalist.

India’s Muslims make up about 15 percent of the country. They are often treated very badly. They lag behind in jobs, schooling and housing. An Imam said, “The meaning of minority has never been clearer than it is today.”

The U.S. had not been willing to give Mr. Modi a visa to visit here. President Obama said this would change. He invited the new leader to the White House.

Mr. Modi focused on economic development in his campaign. The feeling that the country had stalled in growth was part of the reason he won. He did not speak of religious differences. Many people say he is now a national leader. Party leaders said there is no reason for Muslims to fear his government.

Source: The Wall Street Journal                                                             May 17, 2014

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