NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday failed in his promised goal of taking over Delhi State’s legislature as his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost the key state election in India’s capital to its rival Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with a huge margin.
The election results came in the background of the deadly protests against contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which erupted across the country in mid-December, after the ruling BJP passed the new law which, critics said, violated India’s secular constitution and discriminated against minority Muslims. At least 25 people have been killed in the protests so far.
In counting for state polls held in New Delhi, data from election commission showed the liberal AAP, led by the city’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, leading 63 out of 70 seats.
The BJP ran a campaign accusing protesters of “supporting Pakistan”. Cabinet ministers campaigned with starkly sectarian language, implying that support for the incumbent AAP was like supporting so-called “Islamist terrorism” or committing treason. In the two weeks since one deputy minister implored crowds to “shoot the traitors,” there have been two cases of guns being fired at protesters, The New York Times reported.
BJP was projected to win 13 seats, up from three in 2015 but far below its own expectations. Despite its warmongering rhetoric, it managed to bag 7 seats only. A total of 36 seats are required to form the government.
As the results arrived this morning, Chief Minister Kejriwal won a comfortable majority to start his third tenure in office as his AAP obtained an unassailable lead over the BJP, NDTV reported.
The main opposition party Congress has failed to open an account yet again with all its heavyweights trailing.
The campaign for the election 2020 has been bitter and polarised, the political discourse bogged down by threatening slogans and foul language.
The ruling AAP has sought to retain power on the work done in the field of education, health, and in providing cheap electricity and water, while the main opposition BJP conducted a massive campaign, roping in most of its 70 union ministers, 270 MPs and leaders and chief ministers from various states, to deliver its campaign message on anti-CAA protests and nationalism.
Delhi election 2020 was held on Saturday, with 62.59 percent of the city’s voters coming out to exercise their democratic right. The voter turnout in the previous assembly election in 2015 stood at 67.5 percent.
Exit polls released after the conclusion of voting predicted as many as 56 of the 70 assembly seats for AAP, leaving 14 for the BJP and zero for the Congress.