Delhi sees spectacular comeback for opponent

Delhi sees spectacular comeback for opponent

NEW DELHI - In a major blow to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bharatiya Janata Party has suffered a crushing defeat in state elections for Delhi, where it was trounced by a relatively new political party that promises clean governance in the corruption-plagued capital city.

As the results of the Feb. 7 elections poured in, Modi promised to work with the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, which took 67 of 70 seats in the Delhi state assembly. Modi, who became prime minister in May last year after a landslide victory in India's general election, tweeted that he had spoken to Arvind Kejriwal, the AAP leader, and assured him of the national government's support in developing New Delhi, the capital city, which forms part of Delhi state.

The Delhi poll outcome, which became known on Feb. 10, is a setback for Modi, a pro-business leader who has been trying hard to woo investors and promote a "Make in India" initiative aimed at turning the country into a manufacturing hub. The BJP has achieved positive results in local elections since coming to power nationally, but the drubbing in Delhi is a significant reverse.

The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index (Sensex), India's equities benchmark, fell nearly 500 points on Feb. 9 to close at 28,227.39, its lowest level in three weeks, amid projections of victory for the AAP. However, it bounced back on Feb. 10, gaining 0.45 per cent on hopes of reforms in the national government's upcoming 2015-16 budget.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry congratulated the AAP on its landslide victory, and said it hoped the party would use its mandate to create a positive environment for business growth in Delhi.

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