India — the world's biggest democracy — just concluded the largest general election in history. Over 537 million votes were cast over the past month, and voters decided to elect a new government. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Narendra Modi, won the most votes overall, capturing 31 percent of the vote. The Indian Congress Party, led by Rahul Gandhi, came in a distant second, garnering just over 19 percent of the vote. Based on the results, the BJP picked up a total of 282 seats in the lower house of Parliament, the Lok Sahba. Those seats alone make up 51 percent of the lower house, making Modi's BJP the first party in thirty years to have an outright majority. Together, the BJP and its coalition partners will control just under 59 percent of the seats in Lok Sahba.
Major issues in the election campaign included the economy, which has slowed over the past couple of years. Rising food prices and government corruption were also factors, and some have said the BJP's massive mandate comes largely as a result of voters wanting to punish the incumbent government. But, will Modi bring the change desired? What will India look like under the BJP's rule?
- Saikat Datta, the national security editor at the Hindustan Times
- Javed Anand, a journalist and civil rights activist who founded the Mumbai-based Sabrang Communications in 1983
- Colleen Braganza, a journalist with the Hindustan Times