NEW DELHI, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) — India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suffered a big defeat in the local legislative election in the eastern state of Bihar, which is an apparent setback for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Official counting showed the Grand Alliance of incumbent Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would win 156 seats out of 243 seats in the local assembly, while BJP would grasp 76 and others 11.
BJP has admitted defeat in Bihar, while the Janata Dal-United (JD-U)-led Grand Alliance of incumbent chief minister Nitish Kumar said it would form government in the state, one of the most populous and poorest states of India.
Modi said in a tweeter message that he had congratulated Kumar for the election win.
JD-U chief Sharad Yadav described it as a “victory of principles over moneybags.”
“It was a very difficult fight. On the one hand were moneybags and on the other were principles. It is a victory of principles over moneybags. We will win over 150 seats,” he told reporters.
“BJP lost only because of alliance arithmetic,” Indian minister of environment Prakash Javadekar told the media.
BJP vice president Prabhat Jha said: “We failed to understand people’s mind. We will have to change our election strategy.”
Counting of votes polled in the five-phase assembly polls was conducted on Sunday by the election commission.
The local election in Bihar was considered key for the BJP to seek more power in other states, including another key eastern state West Bengal which would hold election next year.
Many in India have criticized Modi for adopting a pro-corporate economic policy while failing to help the country’s majority poor population.
Some have also rapped the BJP for adopting a policy of endorsing communal polarization and religious, cultural intolerance.
This is also the second time for the BJP to have lost a local legislative election since taking power. It lost the Delhi election earlier this year.