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India election

For clues to BJP's landslide win, look to Modi's rural support

Vote of confidence for India's PM provides leverage for reform or nationalism

Many analysts predicted the Bharatiya Janata Party would suffer big setbacks in rural constituencies over the issue of farm distress. Instead, its coalition won a majority of the contested constituencies, including many of the supposedly distressed rural constituencies. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

PATNA, India -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took political analysts by surprise with his landslide victory in a general election that ended Thursday. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader and his ruling coalition owes India's farmers much of the credit, while they, in turn, gave Modi a personal vote of confidence.

Many of those analysts had predicted the BJP and its allies would suffer big setbacks in rural constituencies over the issue of farm distress, which was much talked about during the campaign. Indian farmers are struggling with declining profitability: depressed producer prices and rising costs.

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