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News > World

India: Big win for Modi's Hindu Nationalists in State Elections

  • A supporter of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrates initial poll results in New Delhi, March 11, 2017.

    A supporter of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrates initial poll results in New Delhi, March 11, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 March 2017

The state elections were seen by many as something of a referendum on the right-wing Hindu supremacist government of Narendra Modi.

As results continued to pour in on Saturday in five state elections in India, Narender Modi's Hindu nationalist BJP party emerged as a decisive winner in the nation's most populous state and likely government in three more.

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In India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, Modi’s BJP won 318 of the 405 seats in the state legislature, a massive landslide which many see as a harbinger of the 2019 general election.

While the opposition Congress party won a majority in Punjab state, the BJP won in Uttarakhand and claims it will be able to form coalition governments in both Goa and Manipur when all the votes are finalized.

The state elections were also seen as something of a referendum on Modi himself, the controversial but widely popular leader of the right-wing Hindu supremacist BJP.

Modi — a former organizer for the proto-fascist paramilitary RSS organization who many accuse of quietly overseeing the massacre of thousands of Muslims while he was chief minister of Gujarat — recently faced his biggest challenge since taking power in 2014 over protests of his decision to eliminate large denomination bank notes.

That decision had a devastating effect on thousands of rural, low-income workers who depend almost entirely on cash savings.

The fact that Modi was able to win such a decisive victory in the largely rural Uttar Pradesh, where Modi made dozens of campaign appearances in recent weeks, was a surprise to many pundits who thought Modi’s brand had taken a hit over the demonetization controversy.

"This will be a phenomenal endorsement for Narendra Modi and will put him on track for winning the 2019 election," said Prannoy Roy, editor of TV channel NDTV.

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