India election: Narendra Modi secures second term after sweeping victory

23 May 2019, 10:51 | Updated: 23 May 2019, 12:08

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has secured a second term after winning the country's general election.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claims it has won re-election with a commanding lead, with Mr Modi tweeting: "Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!"

The election has been seen as a referendum on Mr Modi, whose economic reforms have had mixed results but whose popularity as a social underdog has endured.

He began the campaign under pressure after losing three state elections amid rising anger over farm prices and unemployment.

However, campaigning shifted to national security after a suicide car bomb killed 40 Indian police in the contested Kashmir region in February.

Critics have said his Hindu-first platform risks increasing social tensions in the country of 1.3 billion people.

Mr Modi has presented himself as a self-made man who will cut red tape and help India reach its economic potential.

He also labelled his main rival, Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi, as a member of an out-of-touch elite.

BJP used social media, including Twitter, where Mr Modi has the world's second-highest number of followers, and WhatsApp to reach out to millions of supporters.

In the world's largest democratic exercise, voters cast ballots on 40 million electronic voting machines, a method India began using 15 years ago after complaints that the manual count of paper ballots was tainted by fraud and abuse.