India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost the elections in Jharkhand state on Monday, adding to a series of electoral losses suffered since last December, amid protests representing the biggest challenge to the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The ruling party admitted defeat in the eastern state of Jharkhand, against an alliance of the main opposition Congress Party and another local bloc.
“I dedicate this victory to the people of Jharkhand,” said local leader of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Hemant Surin.
The defeat came amid a wave of bloody protests sometimes at the country level due to the new nationality law, which critics say is discriminatory against Muslims and led to thousands taking to the streets.
Voting began in the Jharkhand elections on November 30, that is, before the start of the protests, and thus it does not represent the mood of the current year, but the defeat of the ruling party will be a tool in the hands of the opposition parties, some of whom exploit the current popular anger over the nationality law in his favor.