- Title: FILE: PROFILE - Narendra Modi on course to be country's next prime minister
- Date: 14th May 2014
- Summary: NEW DELHI, INDIA (MAY 08, 2014) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) HAFIZ ZULFQAR, A MUSLIM MAN, SAYING: "Modi is tainted with a lot many blames and rumours. Now we cannot see and pretend not to have seen. We have to think about it. There is definitely something fishy if the world is pointing fingers at him."
- Embargoed: 29th May 2014 13:00
- Location: India
- Country: India
- Topics: General,Politics,People
- Reuters ID: LVA6GY8CWBF8DPGU11WU0JXRKHYB
- Story Text: Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi is set to become India's next prime minister, four major exit polls showed on Monday, with his opposition party and its allies forecast to sweep to a parliamentary majority in the world's biggest ever election.
Modi, of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), electrified the lengthy contest that ended on Monday, with a media-savvy campaign that hinged on vows to kickstart India's economy and create jobs.
Yet much depends on Modi winning enough seats to form a stable government that can push through promised reforms.
Indian elections are notoriously hard to call, and polls taken before and after voting have a patchy track record at best. Results of the ballot are due to be announced on Friday.
A Modi victory would be a blow for campaigners who have long maintained he is an autocratic Hindu supremacist responsible for an outbreak of religious riots in his home state, Gujarat, in 2002 in which more than 1,000 people died, mostly Muslims.
Political analysts like N.K. Singh said Modi has brilliantly created an image of a go-getter who does not tolerate any non-sense and is committed to take the country forward.
"He has carved out his image as if he has zero tolerance towards corruption. He is one who is good developer, he speaks in development jargons; he is one who can develop the society, the human development index and economy also. He is a good administrator - that is what the impression people have got. And he is the man who is against Pakistan, who is very firm in his utterances. So therefore, here is a man in whose regime there will be no terrorism," said Singh.
Modi, who rose from humble roots as a tea vendor's son, was shunned by Western nations for years after the bloodshed in Gujarat, where he has been chief minister since 2001.
However, his rise on the national stage forced a rethink among the European Union and the United States, whose ambassadors have met him to patch up relations.
Modi denies the accusations against him and a Supreme Court inquiry found no evidence to prosecute him.
But suspicion lingers, particularly within India's sizeable Muslim minority, many of whom fear a rise in communal tensions.
"Modi is tainted with a lot many blames and rumours. Now we cannot see and pretend not to have seen. We have to think about it. There is definitely something fishy if the world is pointing fingers at him," said a Muslim shopkeeper in New Delhi, Hafiz Zulfqar.
A majority of 272 seats in parliament is needed to form a government, although that is often achieved with outside support from regional parties.
India's staggered voting, spread over five weeks to reach the country's 815 million voters and move security forces around its varied terrain, ended at 1800 IST (1230 GMT) on Monday.
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