India's Congress party wins elections

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India

India's Congress Party won a large victory in Saturday's general elections. According to state television, the alliance of Congress is ahead or has already won in 263 seats.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party came in a distant second, with 154 seats, and the Third Front won sixty seats. Other parties took the remaining seats.

"I express my deep sense of gratitude to the people for giving us this massive mandate, for having reposed their faith in the party," said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The results of the elections come as somewhat of a surprise, as exit polling had suggested that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would win at best 216 parliamentary seats, and the Congress Party 160. A party or coalition has to obtain 272 out of 543 constituencies in order to select the prime minister and make a majority government.

“Overall, it is a resounding vote for development and good governance,” said Prithviraj Chavan, the Congress Party General Secretary. 714 million people were eligible to vote in the elections; turnout has been estimated at 60%, an increase of two percent over the 58% turnout reported in 2004. The parliament is to be seated by June 2.