INTERNATIONAL

Indian Election: Modi Claims Victory

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed victory in the country's elections, promising an "inclusive" future after his Hindu nationalist party appeared headed for a landslide win.

According to election commission data based on votes counted so far, Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party is on course to win around 300 of 543 elected seats in India's lower house, surpassing its 2014 victory and crushing the opposition congress party's hopes of a comeback.

The BJP has been accused by critics of discriminating against India's religious minorities, in particular its 170 million-strong Muslim population.

Under Modi, Lynchings of Muslims and low-caste Dalits for eating beef and slaughtering and trading in cattle have risen.

Several cities with names rooted in India's Islamic Mughal past have been renamed, while some school textbooks have been changed to downplay Muslims' contributions to the country.

Modi ally and BJP party boss Amit Shah tweeted that the election results, which are yet to be finalized, were a victory "for all of India".

The alliance led by his Bharatiya Janata Party is ahead in more than 335 seats.

The main opposition alliance headed by Rahul Gandhi's Congress Party is ahead in fewer than 92 seats.

A party or coalition needs at least 272 seats to secure a majority in the 543-member lower house of parliament, or Lok Sabha.