03 Dec 2023, 21:46

Modi's party routs opposition in key India state polls 

NEW DELHI, Dec 3, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 
ruling party routed the main opposition in key heartland states as votes were 
counted Sunday, months before national elections in the world's most populous 

The victories in three of the five states that voted in November further 
boost right-wing BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Modi, who is already the 
favourite to win his third consecutive term in office next year.

The premier's party wrested control of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan states from 
the opposition and retained Madhya Pradesh in a landslide despite a spirited 

The results are seen as yet another setback for the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty 
scion Rahul Gandhi, 53, who led the opposition centre-left Indian National 
Congress party's aggressive and personal campaign directly targeting Modi.

Gandhi's father, grandmother, and great-grandfather were prime ministers and 
political stalwarts who dominated the Indian political landscape for decades.

India's once dominant political force, the Congress party, lost the last two 
successive national elections in 2014 and 2019 in historic defeats to Modi 
and the BJP.

The Congress defeated the regional BHRS (Bharat Rashtra Samithi) party in the 
southern state of Telangana while votes in the small northeast Indian state 
of Mizoram will be counted on Monday.

Modi, who remains widely popular in his tenth year in office, flew across all 
poll-bound states in October and November to address tens of thousands of 
people in packed campaign rallies.

With the final votes still being counted, India's election commission Sunday 
evening said that the BJP had won or was leading in 163 of Madhya Pradesh's 
230 state assembly seats.

In Rajasthan, the BJP had 115 wins and leads in the 199 member legislature 
and the party was set to secure 54 of 90 seats in Chhattisgarh.

"Today's victory is historic, it is unprecedented," Modi said in a victory 
speech at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday.

"I bow to the people for their support. It is for our politics of good 
governance and developed India," he added.

The states won by the BJP have about 190 million voters and elect dozens of 
members to the national parliament.