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India polls: Even in Muslim heartlands, India's Modi racks up gains

Published on May 16, 2014 10:29 PM
 
A child looks on as Indian Muslim voters wait in line to cast their ballots at a polling station in Azamgarh, about 275 kms from Lucknow in northern Uttar Pradesh state,  on May 12, 2014. He has been pilloried for horrific riots in which hundreds of Muslims were killed on his watch in western India 12 years ago. He is vilified by many as a fearsome Hindu supremacist. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - He has been pilloried for horrific riots in which hundreds of Muslims were killed on his watch in western India 12 years ago. He is vilified by many as a fearsome Hindu supremacist.

And yet, a Reuters analysis of Friday's sweeping election victory for Narendra Modi shows that many of India's Muslim voters appear to have put aside their fears and backed his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has promised to bring jobs and a revival of the economy.

Alongside the sheer scale of Mr Modi's triumph, the change in attitude among a sizeable proportion of the Muslim community is one of the most surprising outcomes of a vote where social and economic aspirations appear to have overridden other concerns.

With counting of votes cast for parliamentary seats still underway, data provided by the Election Commission showed that in constituencies where the population of Muslims is more than 20 per cent, a BJP candidate looked set to win in nearly half.

 
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