Male: As Maldives President Mohammad Muizzu returned from his first foreign visit to China he was in for a rude shock when his party had to concede defeat in the prestigious Mayoral elections in the city of Male.

The residents of Male voted for Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Adam Azim, who belongs to the opposition as Mayor of Maldives' capital, Male on Saturday. Azim defeated Azima Shakoor from the ruling People's National Congress (PNC).

Following his victory, the former foreign minister of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid, took a jibe at the Muizzu government and underlined that Male has said a categorical no to President Muizzu and his policies.

Taking to social media platform X, Abdulla Shahid wrote, "Kudos @adamazim and to @MDPSecretariat on winning the Male' Mayoral by-election!"

"The capital city has said a categorical NO to President Muizzu and his policies - within just 58 days in office!" he said.

As per the results, Azim received 45 per cent of the votes while government candidate Azima Shukoor received 29 per cent of the vote, according to Maldivian news website Adhadhu.

The Maldivian President congratulated the newly elected Mayor, but the win by the opposition candidate does put a question mark on his government.

As per Maldivian newspaper The Edition, Muizzu had appealed to the public to "not take a risk" by electing a mayor who is not aligned with the government, as this will impede the implementation of the government's plan.

The opposition victory in the Mayoral polls comes even as Maldives and India are involved in a diplomatic face-off after former ministers in the Muizzu government made disparaging remarks on Prime Minister Modi after he posted a picture of himself in Lakshadweep.

On his return from China, President Muizzu on Saturday said that even though the Maldives is a small country in size, other countries should not influence the country's internal affairs.

"We are not a country that is in the backyard of another country. We are an independent nation" he further said.

Although there was no direct naming of any country the comments sparked a debate especially since they came at such a time.

In his response to the ongoing row, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday asserted that "politics is politics" and it can't be guaranteed that every country will support or agree with India every time.

"Politics is politics. I cannot guarantee that in every country, every day, everybody will support us or agree with us," he said.

Moreover, he said that in the last 10 years, India has been trying to build a very strong connection with the world.

"But, seriously, as a solution, what we have been trying to do in the last 10 years, with a lot of success, is to build a very strong connect, so that, though the politics may go up and down, the people of the country, the society, generally have good feelings towards India and understand the importance of having good relations with India," the EAM added.

A diplomatic row was triggered between India and Maldives after three Maldivian leaders, Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid, posted derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and mocked him over his recent trip to Lakshadweep.

The matter was strongly raised by India, with Male and the top opposition leaders of the island nation slamming the ruling establishment over the row.

Further, the Maldives is facing a boycott from Indian tourists, one of its biggest sources of tourism income, following the incident.

In the face of the online furore, the Maldivian government has distanced itself from the remarks against PM Modi.