- BJP crossed the 300-mark just three hours into counting
- PM Modi congratulated people, said party's win "victory of democracy"
- Will work non-stop to ensure nation keeps moving forward, he added
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the people over the BJP's landslide win in the national elections today, saying it was a victory of "democracy". On the occasion, he also made three promises to the people - never to do anything with "ill intention", "never do anything to make a personal fortune" and "every pore, every cell in my body will work non-stop to ensure that the country keeps moving forward".
The BJP's performance has exceeded its tally of 2014 today, crossing the 300-mark just three hours into counting. Overall, the NDA has won or is leading in nearly 350 seats - the counting is still on. In 2014, the party won 282 seats, the NDA had won 336. It was the first time in more than three decades that a single party won majority on its own.
The party's victory, the Prime Minister said, has created a new narrative. "All parties have to introspect" he said.
Targetting the caste-based politics practised in large swathes of the country, he said, "There are only two castes left. These are... the poor. The second - those who remove poverty".
Uttar Pradesh -- the state where caste has been a key component in politics for decades -- has given a huge mandate to the BJP for the second time in a row.
In 2014, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal had won 73 of the 80 seats in the state. This time, in face of a challenge from the Grand Alliance of Mayawati and Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav, the BJP has won or is leading in 61 seats.
The alliance, which has a huge support base among the scheduled castes, backward castes and the Muslims, are likely to get less than 20 seats.
"We had gone to the people to know about their decisions... today, crores of people have filled this fakir ki jholi (poor man's bag)... this is democracy's biggest incident," PM Modi said, addressing hundreds of workers at the party headquarters in Delhi.
The reference to the jholi was a dig at the Congress, whose newest recruit, Shatrughan Sinha, recently used it to mock the Prime Minister. "It's time for PM Modi to pick up his jhola and leave," the actor-turned-politician had told NDTV's Prannoy Roy, referring to an old comment by the Prime Minister.
In 2016, weeks after announcing an overnight ban on high-value cash, which provoked an opposition outcry, PM Modi had said at a rally: "What can my opponents do to me? I am a fakir. I will take my jhola and leave."