Modi's party set for landslide election win in India's Gujarat state

Modi's party set for landslide election win in India's Gujarat state
Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has re-elected his Bharatiya Janata Party in local elections for a record seventh term.
3 min read
08 December, 2022
The BJP has retained power in Gujarat since 1995 [SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is headed for a landslide victory in his home state of Gujarat on Thursday, a big boost to the Hindu nationalist party ahead of general elections due in 2024.

The western industrial state is a bastion of the BJP, which has not lost state assembly elections there since 1995. Modi was Gujarat's chief minister for 13 years before becoming prime minister in 2014.

The BJP led in more than 80 percent of seats out of a total 182 in the early counting of votes and was on its way to wresting a larger majority than in 2017, when it won 99 seats in the last state assembly elections.

The party was also set to surpass its best results in Gujarat when it won 127 seats in 2002.

Modi remains widely popular in the country because of his strong base among India's Hindu majority population. His BJP has been accused of sowing division and hatred through its anti-Muslim rhetoric across the country for decades, and this was reflected in its Gujarat campaign.

The party appears to be attempting to rewrite the history of the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat, where thousands of people - mostly Muslims - were killed by roving bands of Hindu extremists just months after Narendra Modi was elected as the state's chief minister.

Modi, who left his post as chief minister to take up the country's top job in 2014, is eyeing a third term as prime minister in 2024 and campaigned extensively across the state in the run-up to the Gujarat vote.

The BJP's main opposition in Gujarat came from the Indian National Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which emerged in 2012 out of an anti-corruption movement.

The 137-year-old Congress party led in 26 seats, far below the 77 seats it won in 2017, while the AAP was ahead in nine seats having won none the last time.

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The BJP has reportedly lost the contest in the small Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, where the Congress is projected to form the government in what would be a boost for the opposition and secular parties. 

The BJP also lost control of the municipal corporation in the national capital Delhi to the AAP, in results announced on Wednesday.