Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) workers wear masks of BJP prime ministeral candidate Narendra Modi as they celebrate outside the party office in Mumbai on May 16. / Punit Paranjpe, AFP/Getty Images
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the number of ballots cast in India's elections. More than 500 people voted in a record turnout this year.
India's Election Commission is projecting a huge victory for Narendra Modi's opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.
If confirmed, Modi could be formally installed as the nation's new leader on May 21.
Here's why the election is significant
Sheer size: With 1.2 billion people, India is the world's largest democracy and contains around one-sixth of the global population. More people were eligible to vote in India's election - more than 800 million - than there are in all of Europe (740 million). This year's record turnout netted more than 500 ballots cast.
Out with the old: The outgoing Congress party, and its deep links to the Nehru-Gandhi family, has been at the center of Indian politics for all but 10 years since the country won independence from British rule in 1947. This is a victory for new blood. Voters rejected Rahul Gandhi - the son, grandson and great-grandson of Indian prime ministers.
Going it alone: The scale of the win - forecasts suggest the BJP may take more than 272 parliamentary seats out of 545 races - may mean Modi's Hindu nationalist party will be able to rule India as single party, which hasn't happened since 1984.
Big business: Modi has a pro-business agenda and India is a world leader in producing talented workers for the technology and modern health care sectors. Thousands of Indian expats have made huge contributions to economies across Europe and in the USA. India's new prime minister may find ways of luring some of them home. The Sensex, India's benchmark stock index, has taken note. At one point Friday it advanced as much as 6% before trimming gains.
Great expectations: "Modi promised the moon and the stars. People bought that," Rajiv Shukla, a Congress party leader said Friday. There is some truth to that. The BJP has vowed to clamp down on government corruption. Modi has ambitious plans to compete with its economic superpower next door, China, by embarking on a plan of aggressive infrastructure-building.
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