Indian PM Narendra Modi faces yet another devastating blow of political career

Indian PM Narendra Modi faces yet another devastating blow of political career

NEW DELHI, India (AA): India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to lose power in the eastern state of Jharkhand.

According to the latest data by the Election Commission of India on Monday, the main opposition Indian National Congress party — along with its regional allies Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Rashtriya Janata Dal — is leading the polls with 44 seats in 81-member state assembly.

The BJP has gained 26 seats so far, according to figures released by the Election Commission.

The defeat for the ruling BJP in the state would be a major setback for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as it would mean that people voted against his policies, although the locals claimed that the election in the state was fought on local issues.

The five-phase elections in the state were held between Nov. 30 and Dec. 20 as the country sees nationwide protests against a controversial citizenship law in last 12 days, which claimed the lives of more than 26 people across the country.

The Citizenship Amendment Act passed by the Indian parliament mid-December grants citizenship to six minorities, except Muslims, from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh — all Muslim-majority nations in South Asia.

Muslim leaders believe the new law will be linked to a nationwide exercise where every citizen would be asked to prove Indian citizenship.

“Three phases of these elections were organized amid widespread protests against the citizenship law. It shows that people have voted keeping local issues in mind,” said Shahnawaz Akhtar, a local journalist based in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand.

Akhtar told Anadolu Agency that “the trend also shows that people were not concerned much about the new law. In early phases, the BJP raised issues such as Ram temple, abolishing Article 370 [of the Indian constitution scrapping the special status of] Jammu and Kashmir and later on they even used Citizenship Amendment Act. But it failed to make any impact on voters.”

In his address at a public meeting in the capital New Delhi on Sunday, Modi assured that the citizenship law and National Register of Citizens (NRC) have nothing to do with the Indian Muslims.

“The act is not for any citizen of India, be it Hindu or Muslim. This law doesn’t apply to any of 130 crore (1.3 billion) Indians,” said Modi.

He added: “No Indian Muslims is going to be sent to any detention center, nor do we have any detention center in India.”