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Global media finds BJP’s debacle in Bihar a setback for Modi

BJP's failure to win the election in Bihar is seen as indication that Modi's appeal to voters has begun to wane, the Guardian said in its report.

By: PTI | London/islamabad |
November 8, 2015 9:46:11 pm
modi, bihar results, bihar election results, bihar, bjp, nitish kumar, lalu yadav, bihar news, bjp loss, Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The rout of the BJP-led alliance in the crucial assembly polls in Bihar is the “most significant domestic setback” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, global media commented today, saying it shows that his vote-winning abilities were on the wane.

BJP’s failure to win the election in Bihar is seen as indication that Modi’s appeal to voters has begun to wane, the Guardian said in its report.

“India’s ruling party has conceded defeat in a provincial election seen as a test of the vote-winning abilities and political strategy of the prime minister, Narendra Modi,” it said as Modi prepared to make a high-profile maiden visit to the UK this week.

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BJP’s loss in Bihar “is the most significant domestic setback for Modi since he won a crushing victory in a general election in the emerging economic power last year, after a campaign promising rapid development, modernisation and opportunity combined with a defence of conservative cultural and social values,” the paper said.

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The failure to win Bihar for his party will hinder Modi’s push to pass crucial economic reforms because he needs to win such elections to gain full control of parliament, it said.

“So far, the economic takeoff Modi promised during last year’s election has proved elusive,” the paper said.

“More broadly, Sunday’s defeat in Bihar, which has a population of 105 million, might indicate that though Modi, a Hindu nationalist who started his career with a right-wing religious and cultural revivalist organisation, still retains significant national popularity and momentum, his appeal to voters has begun to wane,” it said.

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“Mr Modi won a convincing victory in last year’s national elections, but this poll was seen as a referendum on his economic programme,” the BBC said.

“Defeat is a major setback, it said.

In Pakistan, leading newspaper Dawn said, a resounding verdict in Bihar against Prime Minister Modi’s “cow politics at the expense of India’s traditional tolerance of food habits, put his BJP out to pasture on Sunday while setting the agenda for an opposition regrouping against his narrow nationalism.”

The News, in its report said that the defeat of the BJP in Bihar was a major blow for the Prime Minister who fronted a no-holds barred campaign.

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“It seems India has given its first verdict against Modi’s fundamentalist policies in the Bihar elections where Modi’s Hindu nationalist party unable to take even 80 out of the 243-seat state assembly compared to 160 for a coalition of rival regional parties,” it said.

The New York Times said Prime Minister Modi suffered a severe political setback when the voters of Bihar, the country’s third most populous state, overwhelmingly rejected his party in state assembly elections.

The New York Times said Modi, who had eagerly cast the Bihar elections as a referendum on his first 17 months as India’s leader, conceded defeat shortly after the results were out.

“Recriminations were swift within his BJP. Some party leaders questioned whether Mr Modi had erred in the closing weeks of the Bihar campaign by elevating hard-right appeals to Hindu nationalism over his traditional unifying message of vikas, or development, for all Indians,” it said.

While pollsters had predicted a close election, the actual results were anything but close: The B.J.P. and its allies won less than half as many seats in the 243-member state assembly as the “grand alliance” of parties that joined forces to oppose Modi.

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The defeat also means that Modi will enter the winter session of Parliament without the political momentum he craved to force through major overhauls of taxation, labour rules and land use that he sees as critical to accelerating India’s growth and attracting more foreign investors.

The loss also deprives the BJP of a vital location from which to spread its political dominance into northeast India and neighboring West Bengal, the paper said.

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China’s state-run Xinhua news agency also commented that Prime Minister Modi’s ruling BJP suffered a “major jolt in a key regional election in the eastern state of Bihar, in what was perceived as a referendum on his economic programme.”

Quoting experts, the report said, the “result of Bihar polls clearly indicate a personal blow to Modi as he was the face of the party in the election campaign and it was a referendum on his developmental agenda.”

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First published on: 08-11-2015 at 09:46:11 pm
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