NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw everything he had at the capital, but it was all in vain.
New Delhi’s decisive rejection of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in state elections is the latest show of defiance by a key city against the incumbent tide of nationalist populism.
In Europe, Warsaw, Budapest and Prague have emerged as bastions against the illiberal policies of the respective governments in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, elected a mayor in defiance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — a city he once ran — and his brand of identity politics. Londoners overwhelmingly opposed Brexit.
New York, Los Angeles and Washington all resisted Donald Trump at the last US presidential election in 2016.
Big cities tend to have better educated and more cosmopolitan residents who benefit from superior services and opportunities, so it’s perhaps no great surprise they choose their own political path.
And of course local issues matter every bit as much as national politics: In Delhi, water supply and education dominated. Even so, the results announced yesterday showed that in the national capital, the “Modi magic is not working,” said political analyst Satish Misra.
As populists dig in, the world’s major cities may offer some respite from increasingly embittered political divisions.


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