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India's Ruling Party Looks Headed For Defeat In Delhi Elections

Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man's Party, leader Arvind Kejriwal gestures as he comes out of a polling station after casting his vote in New Delhi, India, on Saturday.
Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man's Party, leader Arvind Kejriwal gestures as he comes out of a polling station after casting his vote in New Delhi, India, on Saturday.

An upstart anti-corruption party appeared headed for victory in elections for a new government in the Indian capital, defeating the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

NPR's Julie McCarthy, reporting from New Delhi, tells our Newscast unit that if the exit polls prove correct, "it would be a humiliating loss ... for Modi."

The premier's "lavish campaign appearances made the race for Delhi's local assembly seem like a referendum on his own national leadership," she says.

Modi's Hindu-nationalist BJP swept to power in May, trouncing the Congress party that has ruled India for most of its nearly six decades as an independent nation.

Julie says final results, due Tuesday, would tell for sure whether Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party – or Common Man Party — would be given a chance to form the new government in Delhi.

The BJP had run Kiran Bedi, India's first high-ranking female police officer, as its candidate for the chief minister post in New Delhi.

The Associated Press says that the election "is viewed as the first tough political battle that Modi and the BJP have faced since coming to power."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman
Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.