India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed victory on Thursday in the country’s elections, promising an “inclusive” future after his Hindu nationalist party appeared headed for a landslide win.
According to Election Commission data based on votes counted so far, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is on course to win around 300 of 543 elected seats in India’s lower house, surpassing its 2014 victory and crushing the opposition Congress party’s hopes of a comeback.
“Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!” Modi tweeted after votes counted so far pointed to a BJP landslide.
The BJP has been accused by critics of discriminating against India’s religious minorities, in particular its 170 million-strong Muslim population.
Under Modi, lynchings of Muslims and low-caste Dalits for eating beef and slaughtering and trading in cattle have risen. Several cities with names rooted in India’s Islamic Mughal past have been renamed, while some school textbooks have been changed to downplay Muslims’ contributions to the country.
Modi ally and BJP party boss Amit Shah tweeted that the election results, which are yet to be finalized, were a victory “for all of India.”
“This result is India’s verdict against the propaganda, lies, personal attacks and baseless politics of the opposition,” he added. “Today’s mandate also shows that people of India have entirely uprooted casteism, nepotism and appeasement to choose nationalism and development.”