The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, is facing his first state election defeat since sweeping to power last year, according to exit polls released yesterday, which showed a resurgent anti-corruption party on track to win a majority in Delhi’s state assembly.
A defeat for Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Indian capital would harm his chances of consolidating power in parliament, where his reform agenda is being thwarted.
Mr Modi needs to win most of the state elections over the next four years to gain control of both houses of parliament, and so deliver on his promise of jobs and economic growth. The upper house, where his party is in a minority, is frustrating his efforts to pass laws related to tax and foreign investment.
The anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), also known as the Common People’s Party, led by Arvind Kejriwal, is likely to win 38 seats, possibly up to 43, in the 70-seat assembly, according to the opinion poll average released yesterday after voting had ended. The official results will be published on Tuesday.
“Modi has not done enough since coming to power. He is brilliant at marketing, but he is all talk, no action,” said Gurjit Singh, 45, outside a polling booth in south Delhi, adding he had voted for Aam Aadmi.
The BJP is expected to win around 29 seats and Congress, the party that has dominated Indian politics over the past century, will win around three seats, its worse ever performance, the polls showed.
In the previous Delhi election held in December 2013, the BJP won the most seats but was short of a majority, leaving the AAP – which came second – to form a coalition with Congress.