See More on Facebook


Ruling BJP headed for mixed results in state elections in India

The voting took place on Thursday and will be officially declared Friday.

Written by

Updated: October 25, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power in the western state of Maharashtra, but was falling short of a majority in the northern state of Haryana in a mixed set of results for a party that has seemed invincible.

The state elections were seen to be a test for the BJP, which highlighted Mr Modi’s decisions like the removal of special autonomy for Kashmir and his fight against Pakistan.

In Haryana, the BJP, which was in power, won 31 seats and was leading in nine of the 90 assembly seats.

The opposition Congress party, which rolled out a lacklustre campaign and has been struggling to remain politically relevant, managed to win 25 seats in Haryana and was leading in six.

A small regional outfit called the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) is seen as being crucial for the formation of the government in Haryana, but has yet to reveal who it would tie up with.

The BJP could still form the government if it gets support from the JJP or some independents.

It appeared confident of that prospect last night. Prime Minister Modi tweeted: “I thank the people of Haryana for blessing us. We will continue to work with the same zeal and dedication for the state’s progress.”

In Maharashtra, the BJP-led alliance was heading for victory, leading and winning 160 seats out of 288.

In 2014, the BJP won 52 seats in Haryana and 122 in Maharashtra, while the Congress party won 15 and 42 seats respectively.

The state elections are the first since Mr Modi returned to power in a landslide win in May’s general election.

Still, the ruling party has been dealing with a worsening economic situation, with unemployment at a 45-year high and economic growth slumping to between 5 per cent and 6 per cent amid signs of distress in the rural economy.

It also comes after the Modi government removed autonomy and enforced a communication lockdown, which is now being slowly eased in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The decision to remove special autonomy from Muslim-majority Kashmir was a key campaign theme for the BJP, particularly in Haryana, which has a strong tradition of its young joining the armed forces.

It also highlighted its drive against illegal immigrants in the north-eastern state of Assam – where 1.9 million people are on their way to becoming stateless.

Analysts believe the election results in Haryana are a sign of voter discontent against the state government led by BJP Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, and a failure to convert the popularity of Mr Modi into votes. They said issues like unemployment would have also been a factor.

“It’s an issue of regional leaders. There are problems in their performance. Modi’s popularity is still intact, but transforming popularity into vote is the responsibility of the party organisation in the state and the chief minister,” said Mr Badri Narayan Tiwari, an Uttar Pradesh state-based political analyst.

Dr Sandeep Shastri, pro-vice-chancellor of Jain University, said the results in Haryana were a setback for the BJP. The BJP was also winning less seats in Maharashtra than it did in 2014.

“I would argue the BJP is on a backfoot after these two results. While the alliance has won in Maharashtra, I think (BJP ally) Shiv Sena will be able to assert itself much more as part of the alliance. At the end of the day, this is not the type of results the BJP has been hoping for. It has retained one state and come out bruised in the other state,” said Dr Shastri.

“Haryana is a significant setback. For the BJP, it goes to show you cannot always rely on the leadership in Delhi. State leadership needs to have delivered. The BJP focused on the national election, but the voters were looking at local issues.”

Yet the results are also seen to be encouraging for the opposition parties from the Congress to regional outfits like the Nationalist Congress Party, subdued since the BJP’s sweep in the general election.

“Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections have once again proved: BJP is not invincible. Opposition needs to work hard,” tweeted journalist and political analyst Nikhil Wagle.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


China pledges international pandemic aid

 Producers of medical goods urged to meet demand from affected countries. China has pledged to do its best to offer aid to countries and international organisations affected by COVID-19 to help contain the outbreak, and businesses are being urged to boost production of epidemic prevention materials to meet demand from abroad. The announcement was made at a meeting of the leading group of China’s coronavirus response, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday. Relevant departments and local authorities must step up co-ordination to closely monitor and analyse the quick spread of the outbreak outside China and roll out more targeted measures to prevent the import and export of infection, the group said in a statement. It is important to further

By China Daily
March 13, 2020


Back to work in Beijing, with tough measures in place

 Mandatory quarantine for those coming from overseas; some Wuhan businesses may reopen. As most of China attempts to return to normalcy after an extensive lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the capital Beijing has been carefully trying to strike a balance between having people restart work while also trying to keep out imported infections, and yesterday ordered a mandatory quarantine for all international arrivals. This comes as the Hubei government announced that some businesses in Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicentre, would gradually be allowed to reopen. On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, his first visit to the city since the outbreak, a sign that the crisis could finally be easing after the government’s toug

By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020


Xi vows victory over coronavirus in Wuhan

President expresses condolences to families of people who died in epidemic. President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak remains the top priority and most important task, even amid the recent positive signs. Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark during his inspection tour in the outbreak’s epicentre, Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. The spread of the novel coronavirus has been basically curbed in Hubei and Wuhan, Xi said, adding that initial success has been made in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan. Xi encouraged local residents and front-line worke

By China Daily
March 11, 2020


China sets example in fighting virus

Epidemic reveals inadequacies in global governance; Beijing says it’s ready to help. China’s response to novel coronavirus pneumonia has set an example for the world in coping with the contagion and offered experience in advancing global public health governance, officials and experts said. The COVID-19 outbreak has also raised the alarm about global public health security and reminded countries that co-operation and co-ordination are needed to deal with challenges as infectious diseases can rapidly escalate into global emergencies, they said. There is a growing positive momentum in epidemic control nationwide thanks to the “comprehensive, thorough and rigorous” measures that China has taken to contain the virus, they said, noting that the daily

By China Daily
March 10, 2020


More than 800,000 people return Beijing under quarantine

“There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. About 827,000 people who came back to Beijing from outside the city are still in a 14-day quarantine to see if they had been infected with the novel coronavirus, an official said on Friday. “There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. Z

By China Daily
March 9, 2020


South Korea declares third city as special care zone as cases spike

President Moon receives letter of support from North Korean leader as infected cases cross 6,000. South Korea has declared a third city a “special care zone” to boost its capability to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, with cases nationwide soaring beyond 6,000. The death toll stands at 42, mostly the elderly with underlying health conditions, while 88 people have recovered, including 47 discharged yesterday. The care zone announcement came as the presidential Blue House revealed that South Korean President Moon Jae-in received a letter on Wednesday from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressing support and comfort to the people battling the coronavirus outbreak, adding that he is confident they will “prevail in this fight wit

By The Straits Times
March 6, 2020