India

India's BJP set to rule Maharashtra and Haryana

Indian musicians blow trumpets near a hoarding with a portrait of Indian Prime Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narendra Modi during celebrations outside the BJP party office following state elections in Mumbai on October 19, 2014. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Modi campaigned personally this time seeking votes for his party in the two states

India's BJP is set to form governments in Maharashtra and Haryana, after the party won the elections in both states.

Last week's elections were PM Narendra Modi's first major test of popularity five months after he led his BJP to a landslide general election win.

The BJP won a majority in Haryana and took most seats in Maharashtra, home to India's financial capital of Mumbai.

In September, the BJP suffered a setback in a string of by-elections.

However, unlike September, Mr Modi campaigned personally this time, seeking votes for his party in the two states.

The BJP won 122 of the 288 seats in Maharashtra, stopping 23 seats of a majority.

The regional right-wing Shiv Sena party, a former BJP ally, came second there with 63 seats.

Reports say the BJP is likely to form the government with support from either the Shiv Sena or the regional Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which won 41 seats.

The BJP won 47 of the 90 seats in Haryana, putting the party in a position to rule the northern state for the first time.

Both states were previously ruled by the Congress party, which lost the general elections in May.

"The results have proved that, like a tsunami, the Modi-wave is demolishing all opposition," BJP leader Amit Shah told reporters on Sunday after the results were announced.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi congratulated the BJP, saying that the "people had voted for change, after 15 years of our government in Maharashtra and 10 years in Haryana".

Correspondents say the results proved that Mr Modi - who spoke at nearly 40 meetings in the two states ahead of the elections - remains popular with the voters.

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