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Narendra Modi eyes decisive majority after Indian exit polls

NEW DELHI -- India's triumphant right-wing opposition said Tuesday it was headed for a decisive majority in the world's biggest election after exit polls showed its hard-line leader Narendra Modi closing in on victory.

Stock markets surged to record highs on hopes of a business-friendly government under Modi after a decade of rule by a left-leaning coalition, while U.S. President Barack Obama said he looked forward to working with the new administration in New Delhi.

“Modi at Delhi Gate” said a headline in the Mail Today, while the Hindustan Times read simply “Exit Polls: Enter Modi” after a flurry of surveys released after voting ended Monday pointed to a big win.

All forecasts showed Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies trouncing the Congress party which has been in power for a decade, and most indicated they would seal a narrow majority.

Results are due on Friday, with some still cautioning against over-confidence in a BJP victory given notorious forecasting errors at the last two general elections.

Modi was keeping a low profile, but senior BJP figures struck a bullish note by predicting the opposition would win more than 300 of the 543 seats in parliament although it was willing to work with additional partners.

“These elections have been fought on a hope that the country will get a good, stable government,” V. K. Singh, a former army chief of staff who is now a senior BJP leader, told reporters at party headquarters.

“After May 16, we will be open to working with any, all entities that wish to work with us for the country's well being and development.”

Asked about the exit polls predicting a majority for the BJP-led alliance, Singh replied: “We may perform even better than this.”

Party spokesman Prakash Javadekar predicted that the BJP-led alliance would get more than 300, echoing Modi's chief lieutenant Amit Shah.

“My personal view is that we will get around 300 seats,” Shah said.

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In this April 30 photo, India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi displays his inked finger to supporters after casting his vote in Ahmadabad, India.

(AP)

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