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Indian ruling party’s rival wins in New Delhi polls

10 February 2015 15:36

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Hundreds of the supporters of India’s anti-corruption candidate, Arvind Kejriwal, have poured into the streets of the capital, New Delhi, to celebrate the party’s victory in the recent state assembly elections for the city.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters expressed joy by bursting crackers, beating drums and waving flags on Tuesday outside the party’s headquarters as they waited for Kejriwal, an activist and a former tax inspector, to deliver a speech.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also the leader of the ruling Baharatiya Janata Party (BJP), congratulated Kejriwal and promised complete support.

The win by the AAP came as a surprise, as BJP officials were highly optimistic of a definite win. Earlier, as exit polls were emerging, Ramesh Bidhuri, the general secretary of the BJP’s Delhi party, dismissed defeat in the elections, saying, “The results will defy the exit poll predictions as BJP will emerge victorious and will definitely form the next government.”

Official vote counting, which is also a test for Modi’s popularity, shows that Arvind Kejriwal’s party AAP is leading in 65 out of 70 seats in the capital city’s state assembly.

Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party is ahead in only 4 seats.

Meanwhile, the Congress Party is expected to finish at a distant third. It governed New Delhi for 15 years until 2013.

India’s capital has been without a government since last February when former chief minister Kejriwal resigned.

More than 13 million people were eligible to go to the polls at nearly 12,000 polling stations to elect representatives to Delhi’s 70-seat legislative assembly on Saturday.

In May 2014, the BJP won 274 seats in the 543-seat lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha. However, the ruling party lacks a majority in the Asian country’s upper house.

The Indian premier’s party needs to win most of the state elections over the next four years in order to gain control of both houses of parliament, where he is attempting to push through reforms to revive the Asian country’s economy.

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