India's ruling coalition has promised to rev up growth, double farmers' income and boost infrastructure spending in the next five years after exit polls showed it would retain power when general election votes are counted on Thursday, May 23rd, Reuters has reported.
Exit polls have predicted an outright majority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's alliance in the seven-phase election that ended on Sunday, May 19th. Such surveys have proved misleading before and the opposition has dismissed them as "gossip".
The coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which is led by Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), met in New Delhi on Tuesday, May 21st, confidant that victory was assured.
Six of the seven exit polls conducted have predicted that the NDA would comfortably surpass the majority mark of 272 seats in the lower house of parliament.
However, the main opposition Congress party has dismissed the polls and urged its workers to remain vigilant at centres where votes are being stored before the Thursday count.
Economic growth eased to a five-quarter low of 6.6% in the three months to December and there are signs it is still slowing.
March industrial output contracted for the first time in nearly two years, and surveys show a slackening in manufacturing and services growth, while car and motorbike sales have tumbled.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, also a senior member of the BJP, said that plans were ready to meet the BJP's manifesto pledge to spend 100 trillion rupees ($1.44 trillion) on infrastructure in the next five years and 25 trillion rupees on agriculture and rural development.
Singh also reiterated the BJP goal of doubling farmers' income by 2022, the 75th year of India's independence from British colonial rule.
Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, whose regional party is part of the NDA, said the election had unleashed a "tsunami" of support for Modi.
Nearly two dozen opposition parties have complained to the Election Commission of attempts to tamper with voting machines in vote-count centres. The commission has rejected the allegation.