India's opposition Congress party wins key state elections

India's opposition Congress party wins key state elections

Congress party defeats ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in southern Karnataka province, in poll paving way for 2024 general elections

By Anadolu staff

ANKARA (AA) - India's main opposition Indian National Congress party has won a key provincial election in the southern state of Karnataka, defeating the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), according to official results.

Out of 224 seats total, the opposition Congress party bagged 135, while it is leading in one more, said results posted on the Election Commission of India website Saturday night.

The ruling party has won 65 seats, according to the results of the state assembly elections, for which voting was done on Wednesday, and the count began on Saturday morning.

The result of today's election is considered important as it is likely to set the tone for general elections scheduled for early next year.

In Southern India, Karnataka is the only state where the BJP currently holds power.

Today's win for the opposition Congress party is its second recent big win. The party has suffered drubbings in a number of regional elections over the last few years and its leadership is now making efforts to revive the grand old party.

Following the win, Congress supporters celebrated.

The Karnataka elections were also the first elections since senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi lost his parliamentary seat after being convicted of defamation in March.

Earlier this year, Gandhi also travelled from south to north India on foot in a march aimed at "uniting India."

Gandhi, along with other leadership, aggressively campaigned in Karnataka.

The leaders of the ruling party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also campaigned hard. But analysts chalked up the loss to many factors, including anti-incumbency and rising inflation.

Mallikarjun Kharge, head of the Indian National Congress, said the people voted for their progressive future, welfare, and social justice.

"With folded hands, we thank them for putting their trust in us," he wrote on Twitter,

Modi congratulated the Congress party on the victory, saying: "My best wishes to them in fulfilling people’s aspirations.”

BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda conceded defeat and said the party "accepts the mandate of the people of Karnataka with humility."

Under Modi’s leadership, Nadda said, the BJP will "continue to work for the betterment of the people and raise their voice by actively playing the role of constructive opposition."

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