Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi made a triumphant entrance in New Delhi yesterday, promising to improve the lives of all Indians.

As world leaders congratulated the abrasive right-winger on his crushing victory over the leftist Congress party, Modi flew out of western Gujarat state, which he has run since 2001, to prepare for a five-year term as Prime Minister.

The former tea-boy, whose humble background is a world away from that of the Delhi elite, was greeted by thousands of flag-waving Bharatiya Janata Party supporters when he arrived in the capital.

Later, he will visit his constituency in the holy city of Varanasi, where he will pray at sundown on the banks of the river Ganges.


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The 63-year-old pledged on Friday to fulfil the dreams of all of India's 1.2 billion people in an effort to allay fears that still linger among Muslims who remember bloody riots in Gujarat in 2002.

The strict vegetarian also pledged "to make the 21st century India's century".

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Modi is expected to turn the country sharply to the right after a decade of rule by the Congress party, which presided over corruption scandals and a slowdown in growth.

He made good governance and development the main focus of his campaign, deriding his Congress rival Rahul Gandhi - whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather were all PMs - as a "princeling" who had little concept of the aspirations of the Indian people.