India election: Hero's welcome for Modi in Delhi

  • 17 May 2014
  • From the section India
Media captionA sense of "religious fervour" swept through crowds celebrating Mr Modi's victory, as Andrew North reports

Narendra Modi received a hero's welcome as he arrived in the Indian capital for the first time after leading his party to a historic win.

India's next prime minister was driven to the BJP headquarters on Ashoka Road in the heart of Delhi in a cavalcade, as party supporters lined the streets showering him with flowers.

Policemen lined the streets of his route and armed special forces personnel were deployed. India's elite Special Protection Group bodyguards have already become part of his security detail.


At the party headquarters, the mood was festive. A brass band kept pace with a company of bagpipers, and supporters danced and sang. It took a while for Mr Modi's cavalcade to make its way to the venue and senior BJP politicians urged the crowd to stay calm.

"He's coming, he'll be here very soon," one of them told the exuberant supporters while another begged people to get down from the trees they had climbed to gain a vantage point.

As Mr Modi's cavalcade was spotted entering Ashoka Road, Mr Modi's supporters drove themselves to a frenzy, almost knocking down the security barricades in the process.

"Modi, Modi," they screamed, giving their hero a rock-star welcome.

Minutes later, the prime minister-elect climbed onto a raised wooden platform outside the party office. Dressed in a blue waistcoat, he was garlanded as he acknowledged the cheers.

"This is as much your victory as mine," he told them. "I am grateful and humbled by this welcome."

Mr Modi is already a political superstar in India but his role in leading the BJP to its best ever performance has elevated him in the eyes of his supporters.

"This is a turning point for India," one young man exhorted, his t-shirt emblazoned with a picture of the BJP leader.

"We will take our rightful place in the world."

Others said he was best placed to kick-start the country's economy.

"His agenda for development will lead India towards growth," one said.

As Mr Modi left party headquarters, heading to his constituency in the holy city of Varanasi, supporters rushed forward for one last look at the man who will now determine the future of 1.2 billion people.

And then they were all gone, the barricades lifted and traffic began flowing again on Ashoka Road.