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Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party has won a sweeping victory in local elections in New Delhi, further cementing the party’s dominance over Indian politics.
The ascendant BJP had secured 184 of a possible 270 seats in New Delhi’s municipal elections after counting ended, striking a blow to the reformist Aam Aadmi, or Common Man party, which currently controls the capital’s assembly and had campaigned hard for the vote.
Amit Shah, the BJP’s president, said the results from New Delhi are further evidence of Mr Modi’s popularity after last month’s landslide victory in elections in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most-populous state: “The municipal election results have taken forward the victory chariot of the BJP and Mr Modi,” he said. In 2012, the BJP won 138 seats in Delhi’s municipal elections, which are fought over local issues such as sanitation and waste disposal.
The AAP, led by Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, was hoping to replicate its success in New Delhi’s assembly elections two years ago, when the party stunned opponents by winning almost all the capital’s legislative seats.
But it suffered a crushing defeat on Wednesday, securing only 46 municipal seats, compared with 30 for the Congress. The setback follows the AAP’s poor performances in state elections in Punjab and Goa last month and will embarrass the upstart party in its main powerbase.
“For AAP after the defeat in Punjab this was a way of trying to prove that at least their stronghold in Delhi was intact,” said Shekhar Gupta, former editor of the Indian Express newspaper and a political columnist. “This loss of political equity is pretty spectacular and as unprecedented as their rise in 2015.”
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