Islamabad: The stunning victory of the Narendra Modi-led BJP in the Lok Sabha polls Saturday drew mixed reactions from the media across the world, with some hailing the results while a few others cautioning against high expectations from the new government
The BJP’s victory was given extensive coverage by the Pakistani media, with all leading English and Urdu newspapers publishing front-page headlines about the “controversial leader” sweeping the polls by mauling the Congress.
“Modi wave sweeps India,” was the headline of the right-wing The Nation.
“Triumphant Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi pledged to make it ‘India’s century’ as he propelled his party to stunning electoral triumph Friday with the biggest winning margin for 30 years,” the paper said.
Conservative but popular Dawn’s headline was “BJP knocks out Congress”.
The paper termed the victory as a right-wing shift, bringing back “revanchist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with an unprecedented and unexpectedly firm grip on power.”
The News, under the headline “Modi set to become Indian PM”, said: “Opposition leader Narendra Modi will be India’s next prime minister, winning the most decisive victory the country has seen in more than a quarter century and sweeping the long-dominant Congress party from power, partial results showed on Friday.”
“BJP landslide win catapults Modi to power” was the headline of The Express Tribune, that also termed the win as a “stunning” one.
Urdu newspapers like Jang, Nawa-i-Waqt, Express, Mashriq, Khabrain, Dunya, Jehan Pakistan etc also carried front-page stories about Modi’s victory.
The overall coverage focused on his mercurial rise and clinching of the top job.
Modi’s victory was well publicised by the Chinese official media, with a photo of him seeking the blessings of his mother after BJP swept the polls on Friday.
The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post in its commentary said: “China will be counting the potential pay-off from a personal relationship” it nurtured with the BJP leader.
“Over the years, China and Modi have invested heavily in each other and forged a bond that could have far-reaching ramifications not only for Sino-Indian relations, but also for the US “Asia pivot” strategy at a time when territorial disputes in the South China Sea are taking a violent turn.”
“The hope generated by that bond was reflected in the way Chinese state media chose to downplay Modi’s outburst about China’s “expansionist mindset” in a recent election rally (in Arunachal Pradesh) as necessary poll-time bluster,” it said.
“Despite Modi’s election rhetoric as a leading Hindu nationalist, Chinese diplomats expect him and his BJP — known for its tough stance on China — to change course,” it quoted Jack Linchuan Qiu, an associate professor at Hong Kong’s Chinese University as saying.
“Beijing was acutely aware that, as a rising star in India’s then main opposition party, Modi brought more to the table than an investor’s paradise, and began to cultivate him,” it said.
Most important for Modi, China has burnished his foreign policy credentials cultivating him while the US cut off ties with him by denying him a visa, it said.
A New York Times editorial titled ‘With Narendra Modi, a Change in India’, said Modi and his BJP’s “landslide victory” reflects a changing India which is “more willing to extend governance to those outside the established elite”.
Modi ran on his expansive promises to revive India’s “moribund economy, end corruption, create millions of jobs and lift millions of people out of poverty”.
But the editorial added a word of caution, saying: “Modi has set very high expectations for economic revival and his government, but he cannot achieve those goals if he exacerbates sectarian divisions, for example, by using divisive rhetoric against Muslims.
“He set a good tone on Friday by promising to work for the good of all Indians, and he will need to stick to that commitment,” the editorial said, referring to Modi’s victory speech in Vadodara after the results were announced when he promised to work for the nation and take everyone along for ‘inclusive growth”.
The editorial said: “One of the most important questions is whether Modi will be the pragmatic pro-business leader who has argued for putting a priority on economic reforms and creating jobs, or whether he will be the strident Hindu nationalist who might impose a sectarian agenda on a largely secular state.”
Nepal’s major dailies, both Nepali and English, on Saturday published front-page news with photographs of Modi while giving detailed coverage of BJP’s rise to power.
The news of Modi’s victory was also widely covered by TV channels, FM radio and social media.
‘Modi’s BJP wins elections by landslide’ was the front-page headline of Nepal’s leading English daily The Kathmandu Post, that also carried a separate story on anticipated changes in India’s policy towards Nepal.
‘India having a majority government after 30 years’ read a headline of another national daily The Himalayan Times.
However, the daily pointed out that “India’s shift in policy towards Nepal is unlikely”.
‘Modi storms to historic poll win’ read the headline of Republica, that said “Modi’s premiership provides opportunity to further strengthen Nepal-India ties”.
With a banner headline ‘BJP’s historic victory’, vernacular daily Rajdhani wrote “BJP’s victory was unprecedented”, and said the party which was confined to just two seats three decades ago, has now got a landslide victory by giving a “humiliating” defeat to the Congress.