BJP defeat in polls in people's statement against Modi -- Archbishop

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been asked to prevent Hindu mass conversion ceremonies.Reuters

The people of India's capital have made a statement against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's alleged inaction in the face of attacks against religious minorities, with the stunning defeat of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party in New Delhi in the recent polls, according to Delhi Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto.

"The people of Delhi voted against the BJP and its attempt to polarise the voters in the name of religion," Couto said. "The result of these elections is a message to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi: he should think seriously about his behaviour," the prelate warned, according to Ecumenical News.

The BJP suffered its first major defeat since Modi assumed office in 2014 to its political rival, the Aam Aadmi Party in New Delhi, with the AAP taking 63 out of 70 seats in the election.

The BJP has been the subject of criticisms by those advocating for religious freedom in India as the party reportedly continues to support the conversion of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism and prevent proselytisers from converting those who have embraced Hinduism.

According to Couto, the results of the poll were affected by the growing number of attacks against Christian facilities like churches and schools, and the failure of the government to bring to justice those who are responsible.

He further lamented the law enforcement's treatment of participants who joined a recent prayer in front of the Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi during which women, children, priests and nuns were forcibly dragged away despite holding a peaceful and prayerful event.

"The result is a vote for change. Even after eight months, the Modi government has failed to act well, nor has it fulfilled its promises," he said.

"The people of Delhi are disappointed and that's why they wanted to give Arwind Kejriwal a chance as the new chief minister. Moreover, the majority of the population here is well educated and come from all over the country. People have the pulse of the situation, on their States: their vote also shows the frustration of the people of India about the central government's behaviour."