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India anti-corruption party sweeps Delhi polls

February 10, 2015

Anti-corruption party AAP has swept Delhi elections after its leaders won most of the seats in the state assembly. Prime Minister Modi's party has suffered a crushing defeat.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and its chief ministerial candidate for Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal (center) waves to his supporters in New Delhi February 10, 2015.
Image: Reuters/A. Abidi

India's most popular anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won by a huge margin in Delhi's state polls, delivering a severe blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

AAP won 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi state legislative assembly, compared to a mere three that the BJP won. The Congress party, which had been in power in Delhi and in India's center for several terms, did not win any seats at all.

Indian media channels showed Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters celebrating their victory with flowers and slogans.

"Don't get arrogant, the Congress and the BJP were defeated because of arrogance. We have to do a lot of work in Delhi," news channel NDTV reported Kejriwal as saying.

The anti-corruption activist would be sworn in as chief minister on Saturday, February 14.

Media channels were also speculating on whether Kejriwal would spend his first Sunday as chief minister at work. He shocked his supporters during his short stint as chief minister in 2013, when he worked on holidays and took the Delhi subway to his office.

The 'anarchist' minister

Following his overwhelming victory at this year's polls, Kejriwal was now expected to deliver on its electoral promises, including providing free electricity and water, and a corruption-free administration for Delhi.

The Delhi state elections are being seen as a major challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP, which had won almost every state election ever since it came to power in parliamentary elections last year.

State polls are important for Modi's federal government, because his party still does not have majority in India's upper house of parliament - essential to getting laws passed swiftly.

Critics accused Modi's BJP of a deep-seated bias against the country's 160 million Muslims and minorities in general, and of pushing a Hindu nationalist agenda.

mg/es (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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