Boost for Modi as BJP wins state election outside heartland
India Boost for Modi as BJP wins state election outside heartland
Victory in Karnataka state shows continuing growth in support for Indian PMâs party
The Indian prime minister Narendra Modiâs party has snatched a fragile victory in a state election outside its political heartland, boosting momentum for the Hindu nationalist leader a year before national polls.
Though the final result is still uncertain, analysts said the surge in support for the Bharatiya Janat a party (BJP) in Karnataka state showed that the partyâs national appeal was still growing while its strongest foe, the secular Congress party, continued to decline.
The BJP won 104 of 224 seats in southern Karnataka state, the most of any party but eight short of governing outright. Its state leader, BS Yeddyurappa, was sworn in on Thursday and now has 15 days to prove he can command a majority.
Opposition parties challenged the result in the Indian supreme court, which began hearing the case at 2am on Thursday and adjourned more than three hours later without a decision. It could still overturn the BJPâs win and allow other parties to try to form government.
The BJPâs emphasis on economic development fused with appeals to Hindu nationalism has won it a raft of states across western and northern India but has had less appeal in the south.
Polling had shown the BGP and Congress were evenly matched until Modi entered the campaign fray, holding 2 1 rallies in the final weeks.
Sandeep Shastri, a political analyst and vice-chancellor at Jain University, said the narrow win was a testament to the BJPâs superior election machine, but also confirmed Modiâs status as the most popular Indian politician in generations.
âThrough [Modi], the BJP has re-entered their southern bastion,â he said. âItâs a critical result because this is the only southern state where they can potentially come to power on their own, without joining with larger regional parties.â
Shastri said the result also cast the Congress party deeper into electoral decline. Though it helped found independent India and has ruled the country for much of the past 70 years, the party has now failed to retain a single state since Modi was elected. âThey have suffered a huge setback,â Shastri said.
Elections for the federal lower house of parliament are expected to be held before May 2019.Topics
- Narendra Modi
- South and Central Asia
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