India

Indian media: Modi 'wake-up call'

AAP supporters celebrate their party's win in Delhi state elections on 10 February 2015 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some commentators warn that the AAP will have to work hard to fulfil its promises

India's press hails anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal's landslide victory in Delhi as a product of a new politics of hope - as well as a shot across the bow for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP.

Praising the result as "something uncommon, extraordinary and outstanding", an editorial in The Hindu says the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) "mobilised the widespread discontent among ordinary people with conventional politics, offering them a new hope, of politics that offers clean and sensitive governance".

In the Indian Express, commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta sees the AAP as a "victory of possibilities" - especially against "poison of plutocracy" - that is the result of a new "pattern of hope" in Indian politics.

"Indian voters are looking for agents of change rather than stasis, hope instead of easy cynicism, aspiration instead of fear, positivity instead of defeatism, and the future instead of the past," Mr Mehta writes.

He adds that after itself benefiting from these factors in the election victory that swept Mr Modi to power, the BJP now appears "old and less credible".

In an editorial, The New Indian Express says Delhi voters have turned their back on the BJP's "abusive political discourse", and instead opted for "agenda-based clean politics" and "transparency, humility and simplicity".

But, the daily adds, the AAP's promises of cheap electricity and water - as well as the lack of the kind of opposition that quickly ended its first stint in office - mean Mr Kejriwal bears a heavy responsibility, and can no longer retreat to his "image as an anarchist".

"The vote is not for anarchy but good governance," the paper says. "If he fails in this, the voters will show him his place the next time.

A commentary by Rajesh Kalra in The Times of India strikes a similar note of caution, saying that the scale of the victory and the AAP's pre-election promises mean they cannot "rest on their laurels", but will "have to hit the ground running".

"The very voters who put you on a pedestal can bring you down with a thud too," warns the article, adding that there is "none better than the BJP to tell you that right now".

Modi wave ebbing?

For DK Singh, writing in the Hindustan Times, the landslide is a "wake-up call" for the BJP that offers a demoralised opposition the hope that the party is "indeed beatable".

He adds that the Hindu nationalist BJP would do well to see the electoral setback as "a rejection of attempts to stoke communal passions".

But in The Hindu, political analyst Sanjay Kumar thinks the Delhi landslide is "more a positive vote for the AAP than a negative one for the BJP or Narendra Modi".

Pointing out that the result was partly due to minority groups abandoning Congress in favour of the AAP, he says it would be a mistake to believe it shows the popularity of Mr Modi or the BJP had declined.

Sujrit S Bhalla, in The Indian Express, believes the result in Delhi need not harm Mr Modi, as long as he does not dismiss it as a mere local setback, but instead sees it as a wake-up call to improve the quality of India's government and push economic reform.

"I think the Delhi election will turn out to be a win-win election for India, Delhi, Modi and Kejriwal," writes Mr Bhalla.

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