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Supporters of India’s opposition Congress party hold a cut-out of party leader Rahul Gandhi as they celebrate outside the party headquarters in New Delhi, India, Dec. 11, 2018 (AP photo).

After State Election Losses, India’s Modi Must Reckon With Rural Discontent

Friday, Dec. 21, 2018

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was ousted from power in three key state elections last week in a rebuke of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration. The results in the heartland rural states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh will likely force Modi to make adjustments in his economic policy priorities as the BJP gears up for general elections set to take place this coming spring. The recent vote also provided a much-needed boost to the opposition Indian National Congress, which captured outright majorities in the state legislatures of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh while falling just short of a majority in Madhya Pradesh. In an email interview with WPR, Surupa Gupta, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, breaks down the results, explaining the widespread dissatisfaction with the government in rural parts of India and what Modi will need to do to stay in power next year.

World Politics Review: How was the opposition Congress party, which has struggled since its electoral defeat to the BJP in 2014, able to make such big gains in three rural state elections? ...

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