India

Ruling BJP loses majority in Haryana, retains power in Maharashtra

PM Narendra Modi at a rally in Maharashtra Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pm Modi led the BJP's campaign in Maharashtra and Haryana

India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has lost its majority in a key state election.

It has won 40 seats in the northern state of Haryana, which is six short of the simple majority needed to retain power.

The party and its ally, Shiv Sena, have held onto power in the western state of Maharashtra, but lost 15 of their seats.

The results are being seen as a temporary setback for PM Narendra Modi.

Mr Modi led his party's campaign from the front and the controversial decision to strip Indian-administered Kashmir of its autonomy was the BJP's key poll plank. The polls were seen as a referendum on the party's Kashmir policy.

On Thursday, local elections were also held in Indian-administered Kashmir. But with most of the state's political leaders in detention, and a crippling communications blockade that is now in its second month, opposition leaders called the elections a "sham" and a "joke on democracy".

These polls were the first in the region since the government changed its status.

In the other states, the BJP used its Kashmir move to tell voters that the party had the ability to take tough decisions on national security. It largely relied on Mr Modi's policy of muscular nationalism and local issues were less talked about in its campaigns.

Both Maharashtra and Haryana witnessed aggressive campaigning by the prime minister and several federal ministers. Shiv Sena also held rallies across Maharashtra where it's a key regional ally.

In Haryana, although the BJP is still the single-largest party, it will need support to form a government.

The Congress has won 31 seats, while several BJP ministers lost.

So any party will need support from the regional Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) to form a government. But it's not yet clear whether the JJP will support the Congress or the BJP.

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Media captionHere are five reasons why Narendra Modi won India's election

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