A man prepares to sign on a signature board with a picture of Narendra Modi, May 16, 2014.
Adnan Abidi / Courtesy Reuters

India has never had an election like this one -- and its political landscape will likely never be the same again. The victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the long-reigning Congress Party was expected, but the magnitude of the blowout took almost everyone by surprise. The final results were stark. As of May 16, the BJP had won an absolute majority of seats in parliament; together with its closest coalition partners, it will hold nearly two-thirds of the seats -- and more parties will undoubtedly jump on the bandwagon. The Congress Party, which has governed India for most of the country’s 67-year history, didn’t even win enough seats to qualify as leader of the opposition.

Now, Narendra Modi, the leader of the BJP and India’s most polarizing political figure in a generation, will become prime minister with a virtually unchecked mandate. What that means for India

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