Bihar election results 2015: World notes — Modi’s honeymoon is over

ternational media presented the Bihar results as a referendum on Prime Minister and a setback to his government’s reforms. Many also mentioned the BJP’s divisive campaign and the perception of deepening religious tension.

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Pakistan actually played a role in the election, as the BJP’s favourite rhetorical device — and Pakistani newspapers made sure to rub the loss in. Dawn headlined its front-page lead ‘Bihar steals Modi’s firecrackers’, with a prominent picture of Nitish and Lalu. The Daily Times said ‘Bihar voters put Modi out to pasture’, commenting that it was a “resounding verdict against “cow politics” and that it would “set the agenda for the opposition to regroup against his narrow nationalism”.

 

Siasat Daily also said the Bihar election proved that the “cow gives milk not votes”. The News International’s headline said ‘Modi’s BJP bites the dust for its extremism’.

The BBC report minced no words and observed how the PM’s lustre has diminished and how the BJP campaign had “ramped up the rhetoric, asking voters… if they wanted ‘a (Bihar) government… that protects terrorists’.” The Telegraph wrote of how this second successive defeat in a major provincial election dampened the mood ahead of Modi’s UK visit. The Economist blog declared that ‘Modi’s honeymoon is over’, and spoke of a possible bust-up in the BJP following this defeat.

The Guardian suggested that BJP’s strategy of “simultaneously stressing both development at a national level and using more sectarian rhetoric at a local level may be becoming less effective”. It also spoke of BJP’s Rajya Sabha minority, which would enable the opposition to block Modi’s reforms.

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The Washington Post also underscored his challenges in Parliament. The LA Times flagged this “rebuke of BJP’s often divisive rhetoric and of Modi’s year-and-a-half in power, which critics say has failed to bring the economic reforms he promised”.

The New York Times reported Bihar’s “overwhelming rejection” of BJP and detailed the backdrop, a “raging national debate over whether Mr Modi’s India is becoming increasingly intolerant of se-cularists, Muslims and political dissent in general”.

The Wall Street Journal pondered the way forward for BJP — whether it would push economic measures at the state level to get around an energised opposition, and whether it would curb the influence of Hindu nationalist organisations.

 


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