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Regional elections in India: failure for Hindu nationalists

Narendra Modi's ruling party has suffered losses. The "Tigress of Bengal" continues to rule in the contested West Bengal.

Election campaign in India: supporters of Mamata Banerjee in a celebratory mood Photo: ap

MUMBAItaz | The joy in Calcutta was great on Sunday: “The Tigress of Bengal” prevailed. The head of government Mamata Banerjee and her regional party Trinamool Congress (TMC) won for the third time with a clear majority in the state of West Bengal. She has been in office for almost ten years. It was a showdown of strength between her and the ruling BJP party, which led an aggressive election campaign.

In the midst of rising corona infection numbers, the urn was called in four regions of India. The one in West Bengal, which borders Bangladesh, was particularly hotly contested. Mamata Banerjee was also injured in a car door during an election rally in March. From then on she continued in a wheelchair.

According to the election commission, it was an accident. Your party, on the other hand, is assuming a targeted attack by the rival Hindu nationalist people's party BJP, which organized a particularly large number of election campaign events in West Bengal.

The election also took place over eight phases. Even the general election in India in 2019 only had seven, which was criticized due to the pandemic. Banerjee thanked the party on Sunday and asked that no victory celebrations be held and sued the electoral commission. "I ask everyone to go back to their homes now," she said on Sunday. A celebration follows when the escalated infection situation is under control.

Dissatisfaction grows

"What the Bengali think today, India will think tomorrow," commented the author Salil Tripathi on the result. Dissatisfaction with the government led by Narendra Modi's BJP is growing. Hashtags like #ResignModi (Modi resigns) and a petition with the same demand are circulating online. Sections of the population are angry about the crisis management. Many farmers have been protesting against the government's agrarian reform for months.

A BJP spokesman said after the count that his party had failed to reach the intellectual elite, and that there was too much emphasis on religious divisions. But the BJP is still in power in around 20 states and union territories. The union territory of Puducherry has now been added. The Modi party was also able to prevail again in northeastern Assam.

In Tamil Nadu, South India, she did not make it into the government after this poll. The opposition leader MK Stalin (DMK) will probably take over the office of chief minister. In Kerala, the leftist government of Pinarayi Vijayan was able to hold its own. Kerala remains the only state in India with a significant representation of the communist party. In West Bengal they lost all seats.

In these elections, the BJP was unable to score points either in the east or in the south. The BJP's mission to take West Bengal by storm has failed.