Feb. 11 (UPI) -- India's anti-establishment Aam Aadmi Party scored major victories Tuesday in elections in the territory of Delhi, tightening its grip after weeks of protests over an unpopular citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslim refugees.
In 60 decided races, the AAP has won 54 seats compared to six for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which is led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Of the 10 remaining seats, the AAP leads in eight.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal comfortably won his local race. He has been withering in his criticism of the BJP, which has backed the citizenship law that fast tracks citizenship for immigrants of three neighboring countries, as long as they're not Muslim.
"It is a victory of people of Delhi who considered me their son," Kejriwal said.
Sanjay Singh, a senior Parliament member representing the AAP, called the Delhi elections a "historic mandate" for his party in an effort to one day challenge the BJP nationally.
"It took [the BJP] the whole cabinet, 300 [lawmakers], five chief ministers, many ex-chief ministers, their whole power but still they failed to defeat Kejriwal," Singh said.
J.P. Nadda, the BJP's national president, acknowledged the lopsided defeat and promised a "constructive opposition" to the AAP in Delhi.
"The BJP respects the mandate given by the people of Delhi," Nadda said. "The BJP will play the role of a constructive opposition and will prominently raise every issue related to the development of the state."
Modi and the BJP handily won national elections last May, but Delhi is the sixth territory where the party has lost power over the last 13 months.