Modi’s nationalist party fears to lose Karnataka because of Modi’s unpopularity


NEW DELHI (AP) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party has threatened to lose Karnataka, the only state in southern India it governs. That’s according to Saturday’s early voting tally, which showed the opposition Congress Party leading a major state poll.

India’s Electoral Commission said the legislature had taken the lead in 135 out of 224 seats in the state legislatures, as the counting of votes continued. Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (Bharatiya Janata Party) took first place in 63 constituencies, while another regional party, the Janata Dal (secular), took the lead with 21 seats.

Karnataka, one of India’s richest states, will vote on Wednesday and the full results are expected to be announced late Saturday. A party needs 113 seats to win a simple majority. The result is expected to be a big boost for opposition parties that want to form a united front to challenge Modi in next year’s general election. They would also improve prospects for the Congress party, which has lost the last two national polls by the BJP and is looking to regain political standing across the country.

In recent years, Prime Minister Modi has sought to maximize his profits in Karnataka, following a ban on Indian Bharatiya Janata leaders and supporters from wearing scarves as part of school uniforms. In Karnataka, the polarization between majority Hindus and minority Muslims deepened. According to India’s latest census, his 2011 census, Karnataka’s population was 84% ​​Hindu, nearly 13% Muslim, and less than 2% Christian.

The Modi party, which relies on Modi’s popularity, wants to keep the only southern state ever in power, but the state has been less responsive to its strong Hindu supremacist policies than other regions. was relatively slow. In recent weeks, Prime Minister Modi has been actively campaigning in Karnataka, home to 65 million people, and has staged major roadshows across the state.

Karnataka is the second state in which Modi’s party has lost parliament in the past six months. In December, parliament dismissed the Bharatiya Janata Party of northern Himachal Pradesh, a small Himalayan state.

Modi’s party initially promised to spur development and lured voters with social measures. But in the run-up to the election, she turned to her usual campaign of Hindu nationalism, accusing the parliament of ignoring Hindu values ​​and appeasing minorities, especially Muslims. Parliament has targeted Modi’s party over rising inflation, corruption allegations and poor infrastructure in the state, while promising power subsidies, food rations for poor families and financial aid for unemployed college graduates. 

The poll was also seen as a further confrontation between Modi and Congress leadership scion Gandhi, who was convicted of making defamatory remarks about the prime minister’s surname during a 2019 election rally. Gandhi was ousted from parliament in March 2019. If the court does not overturn the conviction, Gandhi risks losing his candidacy for the next eight years.

Late last year, Gandhi embarked on a 3,500-kilometer (2,185-mile) journey through Indian towns and villages to revitalize his party and gain public support.

The Karnataka election is the first of his five significant elections to take place this year. These are seen as indicators of voter sentiment ahead of next year’s national elections, when Modi aims to renew his prime ministership for a third straight year.