PM Endures Heavy Poll Defeat on Eve of UK Visit

Published: 09th November 2015 08:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th November 2015 08:55 AM   |  A+A-


Addressing a cheering Indian community at the SAP Centre, Modi said he hoped the UN would come to a decision on how to define terrorism. | (File/AP)

LONDON: Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, suffered a heavy defeat yesterday (Sunday) in an election in the important northern state of Bihar, in a blow to his standing ahead of a high-profile visit to Britain this week.

His Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) endured a crushing defeat in India's third most-populous state, after a controversial campaign headed by the prime minister.

Mr Modi made repeated visits to the state - which with a population of 110?million would be the world's 12th-largest nation, if independent - as the BJP waged a polarising electoral battle on caste and religious lines.

The vote was seen as a referendum on Mr Modi's popularity after 18 months in office as he campaigned hard for a victory that would have helped him pass a stalled national economic reform programme.

The defeat will embolden his opposition and dampen the mood as he heads to London for a visit that includes a sold-out rally at Wembley stadium, lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace and an overnight stay at Chequers hosted by David Cameron.

Mr Modi swept to power in a landslide victory last May on a promise to turn the economy around, but this was his second successive defeat in a major provincial election.

It came as scores of leading Indian writers, artists, filmmakers and scientists returned national awards in protest at a "culture of intolerance" under Mr Modi's government following attacks on minorities.

An anti-Modi "grand alliance" of regional parties and the national Congress party was heading for an overwhelming majority in Bihar.

The BJP has a comfortable majority in the lower house of parliament but is in a minority in the upper chamber, where seats are allocated according to a party's strength in the states. That has enabled the opposition to block key reforms including the biggest overhaul of taxes since independence in 1947.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp