Records tumble as BJP marches to power

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 17, 2014 20:39 IST

Narendra Modi will enter parliament for the first time with a bang—breaking several records and setting new precedents in his march to victory.

The biggest and perhaps the most significant record is that no single party had crossed the 272-mark, or the majority in Lok Sabha, on its own since 1984, until now. Rajiv Gandhi of Congress led the last single-party rule during 1984-1989.

The BJP – that stitched up an alliance with more than 20 parties for the election – also took the total tally of a pre-poll coalition beyond the magic figure of 300 seats for the first time, even as the saffron party scored its biggest Lok Sabha victory. BJP won all seats in Rajasthan and Gujarat, also a first.

The saffron upsurge, returning the BJP to power at the centre after a gap of 10 years, reduced the Congress to its worst-ever tally in a general election. The grand old party was at its nethermost in 1999, with just 114 seats. This is not just a new low but also the first time the Congress could not reach a three-digit result.

“This is an outcome neither the victor nor the loser had expected,” said a Congress strategy manager.

In his victory rally in Vadodara, Modi also pointed out that unlike all previous editions where the two biggest parties were led by leaders born in pre-independence era, “This election saw campaign led by leaders born after independence, be it the Congress or the BJP.”

Modi, 63, was born on September 17, 1950 in Gujarat’s Vadnagar. Rahul Gandhi, who spearheaded the Congress campaign for the first time, was born on June 19, 1970 in New Delhi.

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