Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party has declared a landslide victory in crucial assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, in a result that is expected to boost his claim to a second term.
The month-long, fiercely fought vote in Uttar Pradesh and four other states have been seen as a referendum on Modi’s nearly three-year-old rule, especially after his controversial ban last year on high-value notes.
Almost four in 10 voters backed Modi’s party, the election commission said as it tallied the last votes, close to the party’s vote share in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 national election when it won the biggest national majority in three decades. Polls in the state are typically a bellwether of national politics.
|The announcement of the results sparked celebrations amongst BJP supporters [AP]|
BJP also had won 42 of 70 seats and was leading in another 15 constituencies in another northern state, Uttarakhand, wresting power from the Congress party, the main opposition at the national level.
The opposition Congress and other rivals of the BJP hoped that the voters would punish Modi’s government for its decision to demonetise the country’s highest-value currency bills last November, which brought immense economic hardships, especially to the poor.
Banks and ATMs witnessed massive lines of people for months.
ATMs were not refilled for days and banks ran out of cash within a few hours of opening.
|BJP was on course to win the biggest state assembly majority for any party in Uttar Pradesh since 1980 [EPA]|
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies