By Saurabh Sharma
LUCKNOW, India, Nov.11 (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s coalition retained power in Bihar state, results showed on Wednesday, in what was a referendum on how COVID-19 was handled by Modi and who could increase his chances in three more state elections next year.
Modi’s coalition won a fourth consecutive term in Bihar, the third most populous state and one of the poorest in India, the country which has recorded more than 8.5 million cases of COVID-19, the second highest tally in the world after the United States.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party-led alliance won 125 seats in Bihar’s 243-member assembly, data from the electoral commission showed after the count started on Tuesday.
The counting process took much longer than usual as more electronic voting machines were deployed to avoid overcrowding at polling stations in accordance with health rules.
“This result not only reflects the faith of the poor, workers, farmers and young people in the Modi government’s successful struggle against the crown, but is also a lesson for those who mislead the country,” said the second leader. the most powerful of the BJP, Minister of the Interior. Amit Shah said on Twitter.
Modi, who announced a series of plans for Bihar days before his three-phase vote began last month, said the victory showed the state’s only “aspiration” was economic development.
Around 1.5 million low-paid Bihar workers have been forced to return home from cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai, many on foot carrying luggage and children on their shoulders, after factories or other places where they were working were closed following Modi’s sudden announcement of a nationwide lockdown in late March.
Their images and videos have made national and international headlines. Many are now starting to find work again as the economy has been almost completely reopened.
Bihar’s unemployment rate has averaged 22.6% since April, compared to 13% for the country as a whole, according to data from the private think tank Center for Monitoring Indian Economy https://unemploymentinindia.cmie.com/ kommon / bin / sr.php? kall = wsttimeseries & index_code = 050050000000 & dtype = total.
The state sends the fourth highest number of lawmakers to the lower and upper houses of parliament, and whoever heads it is usually successful in electing those leaders.
After Bihar, the BJP is expected to do well in the state elections of Assam and West Bengal next year, although it has yet to form a solid base in the southern state of Tamil Nadu (NS 🙂 who also votes in 2021. (Written by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Michael Perry)