India's Next Prime Minister Ready To Act On Mandate
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
As India prepares for a transition of power to a new party and a new prime minister, everyone's waiting to see what government Narendra Modi will form following his big victory. Modi's BJP Party will elect him as their parliamentary leader tomorrow, a formal step before taking the oath to become prime minister. From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy has more on India's changing of the guard.
JULIE MCCARTHY, BYLINE: In a rose petal-showered parade into the capital Saturday, the man who bills himself as the consummate outsider claimed the day. Narendra Modi had rebuffed the Delhi establishment with his personal narrative as the one-time humble tea seller who would rise to lead a nation, a powerful symbol that attracted millions of young voters, seekers of meritocracy over privilege in the new India.
Modi's style was new as well. Senior journalist Swapan Dasgupta said to the entitled world he appeared brash. To the youngsters in the dusty small towns bursting with aimless energy, Modi, he said, spoke their language and articulated their anger. But it was all jubilation this weekend. The middle class and the poor looking to climb out of poverty regard Modi as deliverance. A pro-business workaholic married to his job, Modi pledged to be inclusive and to represent all of India.
But his roots in the RSS, a radical Hindu group that is the ideological mentor of his party, are being closely watched. The RSS office was a hub of activity Sunday as its leaders conferred with senior VJP leaders who insisted that the RSS has no role in the formation of the new government. Amid the euphoria, came claims that India's stature in the world would grow under Modi. His campaign with its emphasis on social media proved to be a public relations coup.
Modi's mastery of holding the nation in thrall continues as he keeps India guessing over when he will take the oath of office as the first prime minister born after Indian independence. Three thousands guests are expected for the ceremony at the magnificent home of the president. As the BJP prepares Modi's ascension, the shell-shocked Congress Party convened to take stock of its humiliating defeat and to determine whether the Nehru Gandhi dynasty will continue as the stewards of the party is has dominated for 60 years. Julie McCarthy, NPR News, New Delhi. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.