Opposition leader heads for landslide election victory

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Opposition leader Narendra Modi is set to win India’s election by a landslide, according to preliminary results.

His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was easily driving out the long-dominant Congress Party in the most commanding election victory India has seen in more than a quarter of a century.

The party now has a commanding lead for 272 seats in the lower house of parliament, the majority needed to create an independent government without forming a coalition with smaller parties. With a note of triumph, Mr Modi tweeted “India has won!” as the results came out. The Congress Party, which has been at the centre of Indian politics for most of the country’s history since independence from Britain, conceded defeat several hours into the vote counting.

“We are accepting the people’s verdict in all humility,” party spokesman Shakil Ahmed said. “Trends of the counting are certainly not in our favour. The trends point out that the country has decided to vote against us.”

David Cameron has invited Mr Modi to visit Britain in the wake of his victory. Mr Cameron congratulated Mr Modi in a telephone call earlier and the leaders committed to strengthening ties between the countries, Downing Street said.

Mr Modi, Gujarat’s chief minister, is a divisive figure – lauded for his part in the economic success of the area but also accused of complicity in religious riots. He was denied a US visa in 2005 over his alleged role in the unrest in 2002 which left at least 1,000 people dead, many of them Muslims, but has always denied the allegation.