Foreign Policy Digital

Modi’s Message Was Simple: Hindus First

Bad times in India couldn't dent the BJP's juggernaut.

On May 23, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won India’s general elections by a shockingly large margin. Out of 543 seats in parliament, sitting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party won 303, far exceeding the 272 needed to form a government, while the largest opposition party won just 52. Even some of the BJP’s own politicians weren’t sure of a majority until last week’s exit polls.

Few were expecting this result. Most analysts had predicted the party’s 2014 tally of 282 seats would be much diminished, and not without reason. Over the last five years, Modi’s government has been roundly and repeatedly criticized. The was hit, were lost, farm rose, national was breached, charges were made, and peaked. The enduring images of India under Modi’s rule were damning: farmers marching in the streets, people crying in endless ATM lines after the prime minister

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