Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a landslide in India’s most populous state on Saturday in a massive vote of confidence for the prime minister halfway into his first term.
The BJP (alliance) won 324 seats out of the total 403 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, way above the 202 seats it needs to form a government on its own, the Election Commission of India website showed. The BJP had been expected to perform well in UP, but few experts had predicted the apparent scale of the victory in elections viewed as a test of Modi’s popularity after a controversial ban on high-value banknotes.
Party leader Amit Shah said the BJP would also form governments in the smaller states of Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur, calling it a “historic mandate” for the party. “These results will set Indian politics in a new direction,” he said at a press conference at the party’s New Delhi headquarters. “Caste, dynastic politics and polarisation have lost and the people have accepted the politics of performance.”
In a tweet, Modi said he was overjoyed by the “unprecedented support from all sections of society” and congratulated party workers. “Huge support from the youth is gladdening,” he said.
The result will ultimately strengthen the BJP’s hand in parliament’s upper house, where the lack of a majority has hampered its reform agenda.