Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 18th 2014 Contents A41
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NEW DELHI: Thousands welcomed
India s next Prime Minister in the capital
yesterday after he led his party to a
resounding election victory, with Naren-
dra Modi flashing a victory sign to his
Modi was greeted by roaring crowds
outside the BJP s headquarters in the heart
of New Delhi, where he met with the
party s leadership to discuss forming a
new government. Modi and the Hindu
nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have
won the most decisive election victory
India has seen in three decades, sweeping
the long-dominant Congress party from
The final tally showed that the BJP had
won 282 seats and Congress just 44 in
the 543-strong Lok Sabha, or lower house
of Parliament---meaning Modi will be able
to form a government without the support
of smaller parties.
Conch shells, rose petals
The BJP headquarters were festooned
with garlands made of marigold flowers
and multicoloured balloons. Supporters
blew conch shells, which traditionally
mark the start of most Hindu rituals. As
Modi walked toward the office, he was
showered with rose petals.
Modi pulled off a mandate of staggering
proportions, leaving him unfettered to
pursue the agenda of economic revival
and development that propelled him to
What remains to be seen is how quickly
Modi, who has ruled the western state of
Gujarat since 2001, can match the enor-
mous expectations he has created in an
electorate that is hungry for change.
Modi and the BJP wiped out a Congress
party that had dominated Indian politics
for all but a decade since the country
gained freedom from British rule in 1947.
The last time any single party won a
majority in India was in 1984, when the
Congress party swept more than 400 seats
following the assassination of then-Prime
Minister Indira Gandhi.
Creating jobs, manufacturing key
But 30 years later, India s in the midst of
rapid socio-economic change. About 13 million
young people are entering the job market each
year, but not enough jobs are being created
in an economy that has slowed down to below
five per cent in the last two years. Food prices
and unemployment have spiraled.
For voters, the priorities in this election
were no longer bound by old traditional reli-
gious and caste allegiances. Instead, jobs and
development were their main priority, and
after having promised them that, Modi s real
challenge lies ahead. The BJP has promised
to change tough labour laws that make foreign
manufacturers reluctant to set up factories
in India. Manufacturing makes up only 15
per cent of India s economy, compared to 31
per cent in China. Attracting manufacturing
investment is key to creating jobs, and foreign
investors have been pouring billions of dollars
into Indian stocks and bonds in anticipation
of a Modi victory.
A new government will take office some-
time after the BJP s newly elected lawmakers
formally appoint Modi as Prime Minister on
Tuesday, but no date has been set, party
President Rajnath Singh told reporters.
Outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
met with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee
yesterday and gave him his resignation. (AP)
(SEE story on page A49)
New Indian PM
begins victory lap
Supporters shower flower petals on opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and
India's next Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives at the party headquarters in New
Delhi, India, on Saturday. Thousands of cheering supporters welcomed Modi on his arrival
in the capital yesterday after leading his party to a staggering victory in national elections.
Modi and his BJP wiped out the Congress party that dominated Indian politics for all but a
decade since the country gained freedom from British rule in 1947. AP PHOTO
Colombia s government and the Revolution-
ary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), the coun-
try s largest rebel group, have agreed on a plan
to deal with the illegal drug trade.
Both parties agreed to eliminate all illicit drug
production in Colombia should a final deal be
The Farc, which controls large patches of rural
Colombia, is believed to be partly funded by
money generated by the illegal drug trade.
This was the third on a six-point peace agenda
being negotiated in Cuba.
The civil war in Colombia has killed an esti-
mated 220,000 people in the last five decades.
Last year, government officials and the left-
wing Farc agreed on land reform and political
As with previous agreements, details of the
programme to combat the drug trade will need
to be discussed further by special commissions.
Friday s agreement marked the end of the
last round of the talks initiated by President
Juan Manuel Santos, who is seeking a second
mandate in next week s elections.
Earlier, the Farc along with the country s sec-
ond largest armed group, ELN, said they would
observe a unilateral cease fire for the voting.
At a news conference in the Cuban capital,
Havana, the Colombian chief negotiator, former
vice-President Humberto de la Calle, said the
deal was a "fundamental step" towards peace.
"This way we eliminate the petrol that has
fuelled the conflict in Colombia for decades,"
De la Calle also said the rebels committed
themselves to severing any ties to drug traf-
As part of the deal , both parties also agreed
on a programme to clear rural areas of land
The Farc negotiator Ivan Marquez said the
left-wing rebels insisted on addressing the con-
sequences of the aerial spraying of coca plan-
tations, including reparations for those affect-
ed.The talks in the Cuban capital, Havana, are
the fourth attempt since the 1980s to reach
Previous negotiations failed amid disagree-
ments, mutual recriminations and flare-ups of
The conflic---the longest-running in Latin
America---has killed an estimated 220,000 peo-
ple since it began in the 1960s, with some three
million more internally displaced by the fighting.
agree on drug
After huge win...
First, Air Canada decided to suspend
all of its flights to Venezuela in late
March. And now, Alitalia is following suit.
In a statement sent to CNN, the Italian
airline says that it's suspending the
flights "due to the ongoing critical
currency situation in Venezuela," which is
"no longer economically sustainable."
The suspension goes into effect on
June 2. For the last 11 years, Venezuela
has tightly controlled all cash flow within
its borders. Under the Venezuelan
system, all money collected in ticket
sales has to be deposited into an account
controlled by the government. No funds
can be withdrawn from the account
without permission from the officials
who control it. The government sets
exchange rates for different sectors of
the economy, according to priorities also
set by officials. Cerda said Alitalia is not
the only airline facing problems. In fact,
he says, Venezuela owes 24 airlines
around the world a combined US$4
billion. Cerda also says in the last year, 11
other airlines have reduced their number
of flights to and from Venezuela for the
This year, Colombia's Avianca has
reduced itineraries by more than two-
thirds. Other airlines represented by the
International Air Transport Association
are considering suspending all flights to
Alitalia also suspends flights to Venezuela
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