Aam Aadmi Party Leading in 65 of 70 Seats, BJP Wins One Constituency, Is Ahead in Three Others
New Delhi (INDIA) – India’s Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party rolled to victory in state elections in Delhi on Tuesday in a major political embarrassment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The stunning political resurrection for a party that has pledged to fight corruption in India’s capital but was teetering on the brink of political oblivion after parliamentary elections in May is indeed a big victory forAam Aadmi Party (AAP) signalling growing changes in public mindset about the current Indian government.
India’s Election Commission said preliminary results showed the Aam Aadmi Party had won or was leading in the races for 65 of 70 state assembly seats. Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party had won one constituency and was ahead in 3 others. Complete results were expected Tuesday afternoon.
With such a wide margin of victory, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, an anticorruption activist turned politician, appeared likely become Delhi’s chief minister.
“This is a victory of the people, a victory of truth,” Mr. Kejriwal told a crowd of screaming supporters outside his party’s office. “I hope that with Delhi’s 20 million people, we can make it a place where the rich and poor peacefully coexist.”
Mr. Modi said in a tweet that he had congratulated Mr. Kejriwal by phone and promised him the central government’s “complete support in the development of Delhi.”
Spoke to @ArvindKejriwal & congratulated him on the win. Assured him Centre’s complete support in the development of Delhi.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 10, 2015
Mr. Modi and the BJP have dominated Indian politics since sweeping to power in May after a landslide electoral victory that gave the party an outright majority in the lower house of Parliament—the first for any party in three decades.
The BJP has beaten both its main rival, the Congress party, and influential regional parties, taking control of a series of state governments in elections in recent months.
Winning state-level elections is important for Mr. Modi’s efforts to strengthen his party’s position in Parliament’s upper house, where his political opponents, who are in the majority, are stymying his economic program.
Tuesday’s projected loss delivers a significant blow to Mr. Modi, who has emerged as a larger-than-life popular leader and his party’s star campaigner.
In the run-up to the election, India’s leading dailies carried large front-page ads featuring Mr. Modi’s visage and asking the people of Delhi to “let Modi lead the way.”
But on Tuesday, the BJP dismissed suggestions that the vote was a referendum on his performance as premier.