Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah greet supporters on arrival at the party headquarters in New Delhi, India, May 23, 2019. (PHOTO / AP)
NEW DELHI - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thanked his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan for the latter's congratulatory message over his victory in the just-concluded general elections.
On Thursday, Modi tweeted, saying: "Thank you PM Imran Khan. I warmly express my gratitude for your good wishes. I have always given primacy to peace and development in our region.
On Thursday, Modi tweeted, saying: "Thank you PM Imran Khan. I warmly express my gratitude for your good wishes. I have always given primacy to peace and development in our region."
Earlier, Imran Khan congratulated Modi on his electoral victory.
"I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia," Khan tweeted.
India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads with each other for the past several years. The situation escalated in February this year.
Early Friday, the mobile application of the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the victory of the BJP in the just-concluded 17th general elections.
According to the ECI data, the BJP crossed the half-way mark of 272 required to form the government.
The party's tally is most likely to rise further as BJP candidates are leading in 31 more parliamentary constituencies, and the counting of votes is still underway, ECI data showed.
Prime Minister Modi, dedicating his victory to his countrymen, said: "The people of this country contested this election. I dedicate this victory to my countrymen." He addressed this message to thousands of BJP supporters at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
"We had sought mandate for a New India. I bow down before the 1.3 billion countrymen on this occasion. I thank the Election Commission of India and the security personnel for carrying out the entire election process peacefully."
Modi was accompanied by his party president Amit Shah, who is credited for forging strategic alliances with smaller parties across different states thereby ensuring BJP candidates' victories.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters celebrate their party's victory in the general elections in New Delhi, India, May 23, 2019. (MANISH SWARUP / AP)
Senior BJP leaders, including Home Minister (Internal Security) Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Health Minister J.P. Nadda were also present at the victory rally.
Speaking on the occasion, party president Amit Shah said the BJP had secured more than 50 percent of votes polled in as many as 17 states, while the Indian National Congress (INC) - the main opposition party - could not even win a single constituency in a large number of states.
Earlier, main opposition party the Indian National Congress (INC) president Rahul Gandhi conceded defeat and congratulated Modi over his victory. He tweeted: "I accept the verdict of the people of India. Congratulations to the winners, Mr Modi & the NDA. Thank you to the people of Wayanad for electing me as your MP. Thank you also to the people of Amethi. Thank you Congress workers & leaders for your hard work in this campaign."
Addressing media at his party headquarters in New Delhi, Gandhi said, "The BJP and the INC have different ideologies and visions. Modi and the BJP have their ideology, and the INC has its own. We will continue with our ideology and vision. There are many people in the country who believe in the INC's ideologies and policies." He also appealed to his partymen who lost the elections not to lose heart and continue to work as a team.
Gandhi also congratulated his arch rival and Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani who defeated him in the Amethi parliamentary constituency in northern state of Uttar Pradesh. "I congratulate Smriti Irani, and I hope she will take care of Amethi constituency," he added.
"Today the election results have been announced," Gandhi said. "A new prime minister will take over. Our countrymen have given their verdict, and we respect that."
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