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Thursday, 28 March, 2002, 13:00 GMT
BJP crushed in Delhi polls
Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi being greeted by supporters in Delhi
Congress victory: A clear verdict by Delhi voters
India's main opposition Congress party has won a landslide victory in the civic elections in the capital Delhi.


From Gujarat to cooking gas, everything went against us. It's an anti-BJP verdict

Shanti Desai, Mayor of Delhi

The party took 107 of the 134 seats in the Delhi Municipal Corporation - India's largest municipal body.

The results have come as a shock for the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as Delhi was considered to be one of its traditional strongholds.

The party still commands all seven parliamentary seats in the capital, but the losses of the state legislature in 1998 and now the civic poll have bruised its prestige.

Disenchantment

Some BJP leaders said they were victims of what they termed an "anti-incumbency wave".

A malnourished child taking bath
Delhi's civic affairs were "poorly" managed

They attributed the defeat to the BJP-led central government and the recent general budget which they said had alienated the middle class.

Some also blamed the recent communal violence in the western state of Gujarat for the party's poor showing.

"Our voters did not come out to vote. The anger was evident in these elections", said the president of the party's local unit, Mange Ram Garg.

The defeat in Delhi followed the BJP's equally poor showing in four state elections last month.

The Chief Minister of Delhi and Congress party leader, Sheila Dixit, said there was a growing wave of support for the Congress party and that it would not be limited to Delhi.

See also:

22 Mar 02 | South Asia
Secularism vital, Indian coalition says
25 Feb 02 | South Asia
India's BJP mulls poll blow
25 Feb 02 | South Asia
Analysis: India's vulnerable BJP
24 Feb 02 | South Asia
BJP routed in Indian state polls
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