Narendra Modi and Amit Shah take part in a press conference in New Delhi on Friday. Money Sharma / AFP
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in power for five years, attended his first news conference ever in India on Friday but took no questions, prompting taunts from journalists and from opposition parties seeking to oust him in an election that ends on Sunday.
Modi, one of India's most gifted political orators, has never addressed a news conference in India, though he has given many one-on-one interviews to local media and once took questions from reporters in London in 2015.
In the impromptu news conference called by Amit Shah, president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Modi said he was confident of securing a second term when results of the staggered 39-day national election are announced on May 23.
India's general election, the world's biggest democratic exercise involving almost 900 million voters, ends on Sunday with polling in 59 parliamentary seats across eight states.
"I believe this is the first time in a long time that a majority government is winning a second term with a majority," Modi said, as campaigning ended. "It's a big thing."
When a journalist asked him a question, the 68-year old prime minister directed her to Shah, saying: "I am a disciplined soldier (of the party), the president is everything to me."
India's main opposition Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi, mocked Modi for avoiding questions at his news conference.
"Congratulations Modi Ji. Excellent press conference!" tweeted Gandhi, whose simultaneous press conference was carried on split TV screens but put on mute by most new channels. He used an honorific for Modi.
"Showing up is half the battle. Next time Mr Shah may even allow you to answer a couple of questions."
Rajdeep Sardesai, one of India's best-known broadcast journalists, said: "Today, a press conference became a press appearance!"
"New India," Gandhi tweeted in a mocking vein, attaching two photographs of army personnel performing Yoga along with the dog squad on the occasion of International Day of Yoga.
Among its successful women candidates is Pramila Bisoy, 70, who spent years helping rural Indian women set up small businesses and said she never imagined she would enter parliament.
Polls close at 6:00 pm (1230 GMT) in the seventh and final round of voting, ending the world's biggest election with 900 million eligible voters from Goa's beaches to Mumbai's slums and Ladakh's Himalayan monasteries.
Congress leader and Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu stirred a controversy on Saturday by calling the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) "Kale Angrez" (black Englishmen) and likening Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a bride who pretends to do work.
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