Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Polls predict Modi victory as Indians in UAE await election results

Some Indians have returned home to celebrate a party victory

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to supporters while campaigning in Varanasi on April 25, 2019. Reuters
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to supporters while campaigning in Varanasi on April 25, 2019. Reuters

Supporters of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party will gather at homes across the UAE on Thursday to find out if Prime Minister Narendra Modi will govern India for another five years.

Congress supporters in the Emirates will come together at the Indian association office in Sharjah to watch the election results on television.

Chandra Prakash, who oversees Kerala state for the Non-Resident India committee, is confident he will celebrate victory for the BJP in New Delhi.

“We have worked at the grass-root level and this is paying off,” said Mr Prakash, who is among hundreds of NRI volunteers who promoted the party’s social welfare programmes in southern India and other parts of the country.

Exit polls have predicted that Mr Modi will return to power

, with four estimating the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance will win between 280 and 316 seats in the 545-­member lower house of parliament.

The Congress-led opposition alliance is expected to secure between 77 to 108 seats.

A party requires 272 seats to form a government.

The BJP alliance achieved a landslide victory in the 2014 elections, winning 336 seats.

“It was an incredible experience that I have not forgotten and I want to be part of it again,” Mr Prakash said.

“As volunteers, we have worked hard to make sure people knew the benefits given by the government, such as electricity for ­every household in the village and soft loans from banks.”

BJP supporters said they believed the party would return to power because it kept promises such as offering additional insurance to farmers to soften the impact of crop losses and introducing reforms to increase foreign investment.

But Congress supporters have dismissed the results of the exit polls and said leader Rahul Gandhi may be able to form a coalition.

About 20 regional parties have come together in an attempt to defeat the BJP.

Congress supporters highlighted low crop prices that have left farmers burdened with debt, and security concerns expressed by India’s Muslim community.

The BJP has been criticised for not condemning right-wing groups accused of attacking Muslims and Dalits, or low caste Hindus, for eating beef and slaughtering cows, considered sacred by most Hindus.

“We believe the Congress numbers will move up in this election,” said T A Raveendran, former convener of the United Democratic Front in the UAE, an opposition alliance of the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala.

“More NRIs went to India to vote this time than in any election because this result is more important than any other election. We want to ensure the BJP does not remain in power.”

Updated: May 23, 2019 10:26 AM

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