Defying sceptics, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party swept to a blockbuster victory in the UK polls, winning an outright majority in the parliament.
It was a spectacular victory by any reckoning, which stunned pundits and pollsters who had predicted a hung parliament. The Conservative Party won 331 seats in the 650-member parliament, assuring Mr Cameron a full five years in 10, Downing Street and the first majority Conservative government in decades.
‘Phir Ek Baar, Cameron Sarkar’
The victory elicited a steady stream of congratulations from world leaders. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to felicitate Mr Cameron, and he chose his favourite twitter handle to convey his warm sentiments for the British leader. Improvising on his party slogan in the May 2014 elections, Mr Modi tweeted:” As you rightly pointed out – its Phir Ek Baar, Cameron Sarkar.”
The scale of the Conservative victory stunned all those tracking the British polls, and reduced the Liberal Democrats, the erstwhile junior partner in the outgoing coalition government, to mere eight seats. It was clearly the high moment for the 47-year-old born-again British leader. “This is the sweetest victory of all,” Mr Cameron cheered his enthusiastic supporters at the party headquarters in London.
“The real reason to celebrate tonight, the real reason to be proud, the real reason to be excited is we are going to get the opportunity to serve the country again,” he added.
An upbeat Cameron met Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace to accept a mandate to form the first majority Conservative government since John Mayor’s victory in 1992.
Scottish Surprise: Nicola Sturgeon on high
Mr Cameron is clearly the man of the moment in Britain, but there was another blockbuster winner – the Scottish National Party led by the 44-year-old Nicola Sturgeon notched up a record-braking 56 out of 59 UK parliamentary seats in Scotland. Some of the entrenched leaders in Scotland lost their seats, including Labour’s Douglas Alexander, who lost to 20-year-old student representing the SNP.
It’s economics, stupid!
In his campaign, Cameron relentlessly tomtomed his government’s accomplishments and claimed that it rescued Britain from the economic slowdown and delivered the fastest growth among major world economies. And as soon as he resumed his office, he retained George Osborne as finance minister, the man credited with overseeing recovery from the European economic slowdown.
Mr Cameroon will justifiably soak in his headline-hogging victory for some time, but the road ahead is fraught with stiff challenges. The biggest one would be to keep Britain united. The SNP, which has never hidden its motive to leave the UK, has never really liked the Conservative Party. Now, Cameron will have to rebuild the damage done and keep the country united. Soon after his victory, he assured the Northern neighbors that he would work for “one United Kingdom”.
(Deepak Giri contributed inputs for this article)
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