Narendra Modi’s overwhelming election victory has brought with it expectations of fast and noticeable improvements in the living conditions of hundreds of millions of Indians. The main focus of the new government is, therefore, the economic development of India, which is also one of the two leading guidelines for Modi’s foreign policy. The other major concern for the new government is the relationship with China. Modi’s success or failure in these two areas of India’s foreign policy will determine the country’s future role as a great power in global politics.
The 2014 parliamentary elections in India delivered an unexpectedly clear mandate for change: the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won an absolute majority in the lower house, the Lok Sabha. Its controversial leading candidate Narendra Modi is the new prime minister of India. How could the BJP achieve such an overwhelming victory? This article analyses the elections and some of the main reasons for the unprecedented BJP triumph. It starts by evaluating voter turnout and its consequences and then discusses the result itself.