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India's ruling party sweeps Gujarat state election

India's ruling party sweeps Gujarat state election
Country's main opposition Indian National Congress party wins election in northern Himachal Pradesh state

By Ahmad Adil

NEW DELHI (AA) - India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won crucial provincial elections in the western state of Gujarat -- the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, official results showed.

The vote count on Thursday showed that the ruling party won 156 of the 182 seats -- the highest number of seats won by any party ever at elections in Gujarat.

The main Indian National Congress party won only 17 seats -- much less than the 77 seats the party won in the 2017 elections in Gujarat state.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which is ruling the national capital Delhi and Punjab state, could only win five seats.

With the latest results, the BJP continues to retain power in its stronghold state which it has been ruling since 1995.

Besides the BJP's seventh straight term in the western state, it is also the biggest-ever win of any party in the elections in Gujarat. In 1985, the Indian National Congress won 149 seats.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the win historic.

"To all hardworking @BJP4Gujarat Karyakartas (worker) I want to say - each of you is a champion!," he wrote on Twitter. "This historic win would never be possible without the exceptional hardwork of our Karyakartas, who are the real strength of our Party."

The BJP, however, lost elections in the northern Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, where the opposition Congress party will now return to power. The Congress won 40 out of the total 68 assembly seats in the state, while the BJP won 25 seats.

- 'Big boost to Modi'

Political experts in India believe the landslide win in Gujarat is a big boost to Modi's party which lost control of the municipal corporation in Delhi. On Wednesday, as the results were announced, Aam Aadmi Party secured the maximum number of seats.

Indian political commentator Niranjan Sahoo told Anadolu Agency that "BJP was expected to sweep Gujarat although not so deep."

"Notwithstanding the psychological advantage, the BJP landslide electoral victory in Gujarat should not lead to the conclusion that 2024 victory is ensured," he said.

He maintained that one-and-a-half years, is still a "long time in politics and issues/expectations can dramatically change in politics."

"This victory will give the party much needed boost for series of high valued state polls particularly Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan where the party stands a good chance as evident from record crowd surge for Bharat Jodi Yatra," said Sahoo, while referring to the Bharat Jodo Yatra (Unite India March) by senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is traveling from the south to the north on foot, and has raised hopes for the party's revival as it has attracted attention, ahead of general elections in 2024.

The Congress has suffered drubbings in a number of regional elections over the last few years.

Sahoo added: "If Congress can win a couple of these states, then the battle for 2024 polls is wide open."

Mallikarjun Kharge, president of the Congress, thanked the people of Himachal Pradesh "for expressing their faith in the Congress party."

"Congress party is committed to fulfill the 10 promises made to the people of Himachal Pradesh," he said on Twitter.

source: News Feed
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