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BJP trounced in Delhi in big blow for Narendra Modi

 Social tensions

Modi swept to power with the biggest national election victory in three decades last year, promising to revitalise India’s economy. His BJP has won a string of big states in recent months.While he has sought to fix governance and tried to push through reform legislation by executive decree after the opposition blocked him in parliament, corporate investment has yet to revive, waiting for structural reforms in the economy.Meanwhile, social tensions have risen as Hindu hardline groups tied to the BJP become more emboldened, rowing with Muslim minority groups over religious conversions. Christian groups have also sought greater police protection after a series of attacks on churches.Even President Barack Obama warned during a visit last month that India could only realise its full potential if it practised religious tolerance.”This is a victory for the people and a big defeat for the arrogant and those who are doing political vendetta and spreading hate among the people,” said Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the eastern state of West Bengal and a bitter foe of Modi.Critics have long accused the BJP of a deep-seated bias against the country’s 160 million Muslims and of trying to push a hardline Hindu agenda. The BJP denies any bias and says it is opposed to appeasement of any community.A party spokesman said the Delhi election was a local poll and in no way reflected the BJP’s strength in the rest of the country. “This is not a referendum on the central government,” said GVL Narasimha Rao.Ajay Maken, the Congress party’s lead campaigner, said he would resign his party post after he failed to win his own seat. There was no immediate word from either party chief Sonia Gandhi or her son Rahul on the election drubbing.

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