India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on March 10 that his party’s victory in four state elections demonstrated the people’s support for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) “pro-active governance.”
The BJP won four of the five states that held elections in February and March, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which governs the national capital territory of Delhi, swept victory in Punjab’s election.
Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath became the first BJP chief minister to have retained office in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, for a second consecutive term. Uttar Pradesh is home to about a fifth of India’s 1.35 billion population and sends the most legislators to Parliament of any state.
Modi said that this would be the first time a chief minister has been re-elected after serving a five-year term.
“These results are a big seal on the pro-poor, pro-active governance of the BJP,” he said in a statement, adding that the party’s seats have increased in Goa even after being in power for 10 years.
The victory in the northern state has come despite the state and federal government’s much-criticized handling of COVID-19, lack of jobs, and anger over the farm reforms law that Modi canceled last year after massive protests.
“We have improved the governance delivery system across the country and wherever there are BJP governments. I am not a person who will sit peacefully without taking the rights of the poor to their homes,” Modi said.
The BJP has long predicted that it would retain the state because of policies such as free staples for the poor during the pandemic, a crackdown on crime, and its popularity among the Hindu majority reinforced by the construction of a temple on the site of a razed mosque.
The AAP, whose name means “common man” in Hindi, emerged in 2012 out of an anti-corruption movement. Party leaders said that they were ready to take on Modi nationally.
Modi took to his social media on Friday to congratulate the AAP for their victory in Punjab, saying that the central government would extend “all possible support” for Punjab’s welfare.
The prime minister began a two-day visit to his home state of Gujarat on March 11, a day after the election results were released, and attended various roadshows arranged by the state BJP unit, The Indian Express reported.
Reuters contributed to this report.