The party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lost its bid to win state elections in West Bengal in a result being seen as a COVID backlash against government policies that are seeing thousands die daily and hundreds of thousands of new infections from the virus.
Some reports indicate that 300,000 have been infected daily over the past week with headlines around the world focusing on a nationwide shortage of beds and medical oxygen.
In addition to the setback in one of India’s most populous states, the Hindu Nationalist BNP in large part also flopped elsewhere although they did hold the northeast region of Assam.
Reports from West Bengal with its population of more than 90 million, now say that the Trinamool Congress party (TMC) of Mamata Banerjee has secured over 200 seats in the state’s 294-seat assembly meaning that Ms. Banerjee is now the only female chief minister in India.
Responding to the defeat, Prime Minister Modi Tweeted “From a negligible presence earlier, BJP’s presence has significantly increased (in West Bengal).”
Mr. Modi was referring to his party’s securing over 60 seats in the state senate compared to just three in the 2016 election.
As the results come in, across India thousands continue to die with over 19 million cases of the virus now officially reported leading to around 220,000 deaths.
Many suspect the real figures are much higher.