Will the Modi government continue its term in office?

Memorandum for India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi

After only a third of the votes had been counted, a clear trend became apparent: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi suffered a severe setback in the regional elections in New Delhi. Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried to win back the majority in the capital's regional parliament with an aggressive election campaign.

Big AAP majority

Others have been ruling there for five years: the members of the anti-corruption party AAP. And after counting most of the votes, it is also ahead in the current election, with a huge majority. According to preliminary information from the election commission, Prime Minister Modi's BJP is lagging behind.

If the trend continues, the AAP should win 62 of the 70 parliamentary seats, the BJP would only have eight. And India's other big party, INC, would not get any direct mandates at all in the New Delhi region.

AAP boss Kejriwal: Little man's party

The AAP chairman Arvind Kejriwal said of his party's good performance in front of supporters in the metropolis: "It is the victory of the people in Delhi who saw me as their son."

Education and Health or Nationalism?

As the party of the common man, the AAP focused on improving education and health care in the capital during the election campaign. It is also popular with socially disadvantaged citizens for the free provision of water and bus tickets as well as subsidized electricity supply.

Modi's BJP, on the other hand, relies on strong nationalism. The Prime Minister's party also used the election campaign to promote its controversial citizenship law, which many in India see as anti-Muslim. It stipulates that illegally entered migrants from the three neighboring countries, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, with a majority of Muslims, will have their naturalization easier, provided that they are not Muslims. To advertise with this controversial law, of all things, was a campaign tactic that now apparently backfired.

For weeks there have been demonstrations in India against the citizenship law - either because it is seen as discriminating against Muslims or because there are fears of strong immigration.

AR / rb (dpa, afp)