India PM Modi’s party set to sweep general election

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party was set for a historic victory as India counted hundreds of millions of votes from its general election on Thursday.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was ahead in 324 seats, broadcaster NDTV said.

The opposition United Progressive Alliance, led by Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party, was leading in 111 seats.

Indian stock markets surged ahead of a possible Modi win.

At 0525 GMT, the broader NSE index was up 2% for the day. The rupee was trading at 69.5 to the dollar, stronger than the 69.67 close on Wednesday.

Modi was under pressure when he began campaigning, losing three state elections in December amid rising anger over farm prices and unemployment.

VICTORY PREPARATION

The NDA held a meeting on Tuesday, at which Modi was garlanded with flowers by members of the alliance, to discuss its policy agenda for its second term in power. It has promised to double farmers’ income and boost infrastructure spending over the next five years.

Several opposition leaders attempting to unseat Modi have urged voters to wait for the final results, calling the exit polls “gossip”.

“Do not get demoralised by the fake exit polls doing the rounds,” Congress president Rahul Gandhi said in a message to party workers posted on social media on Wednesday.

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