Modi’s party wins big in bell­wether polls

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -

In­dia’s rul­ing Hindu na­tion­al­ist party won land­slide vic­to­ries in re­sults an­nounced Satur­day of key state leg­isla­tive elec­tions that are seen as a ref­er­en­dum on the per­for­mance of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s nearly three-year-old gov­ern­ment.

Lead­ers from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the party’s vic­tory in Ut­tar Pradesh, In­dia’s largest state, would boost the pre­mier’s chances of win­ning an­other term in 2019 elec­tions.

The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion said the BJP won 311 out of 403 seats in Ut­tar Pradesh’s leg­is­la­ture. The party’s pres­i­dent, Amit Shah, de­scribed it as “a his­toric ver­dict.”

In an­other north­ern state, Ut­tarak­hand, the BJP won 56 of 70 seats and was lead­ing in one other con­stituency, wrest­ing power from the Congress party, the main op­po­si­tion at the na­tional level.

The elec­tions were held in five states in Fe­bru­ary and early March, but the votes were not tal­lied un­til Satur­day.

The Congress party had a face­sav­ing win in Pun­jab state, where it cap­tured 77 of 117 seats.

AD­NAN ABIDI/REUTERS

In New Delhi, sup­port­ers of In­dia’s rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party cel­e­brate leg­isla­tive elec­tion re­sults seen as a ref­er­en­dum on the per­for­mance of Hindu na­tion­al­ist Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s gov­ern­ment. The elec­tions were held in five states in Fe­bru­ary and March, but the votes were not tal­lied un­til Satur­day.

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