India’s long-ruling Congress Party faced major defeats in state elections Sunday, early results showed, painting a grim outlook for the party’s bid to maintain power in next year’s general elections, according to Reuters.
India, the world’s largest democracy, will vote in a general election due by next May.
Voters, angered by corruption and rising prices in the country, sided with opposition parties such as the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — rebuking the Congress party, which has ruled for much of the last 66 years since the nation’s independence.
BJP candidates won in all four races and the new, anti-corruption Aam Aadmi party made an impressive debut in the capital city of New Delhi, the Washington Post reports.
Celebrations erupted outside of BJP offices throughout the states with supporters taking to the streets with fireworks and sweets.
Exit polls over the last few weeks indicated sweeping victories for the party ahead of Sunday’s “counting day” results — a clear response to growing opposition to the ruling party, which recently has been accused of ineptitude. However, questions remain as to whether BJP can continue its momentum into the general election next year and elect the party’s candidate for for prime minister, Narendra Modi.
“BJP’s victory across the states is spectacular,” Modi said on Twitter. “The total number of seats Congress has won in all the four states today cannot even match the seats [BJP] won in 1 state!”
In the final tally, BJP won 408 out of 589 seats across the states, which is near 70% of the total seats decided, he said.
BJP’s victory across the states is spectacular. I congratulate Rajnath ji, Party leaders & Karyakartas for their hardwork in the elections.
A fifth state will learn its results Monday.
The Congress party’s defeats call for “deep introspection,” said Sonia Gandhi, the president of the party, with Rahul Gandhi — her son and heir — at her side. “Obviously, people aren’t happy; otherwise they wouldn’t have given such result.”