Indian PM Modi’s party ahead in state polls

Bharatiya Janata Party supporters raise cutouts of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they celebrate winning seats in the state of Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow, India, Saturday.— AP
Bharatiya Janata Party supporters raise cutouts of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they celebrate winning seats in the state of Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow, India, Saturday.— AP

India’s governing Hindu nationalist party is heading for major victories in key state legislature elections that are seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nearly three-year-old rule.

The Election Commission says Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is leading in 293 out of 403 seats in the Uttar Pradesh state legislature. Nearly one-third of votes have been counted so far.

The party is also heading for an impressive victory in Uttarakhand state, leading the race in 54 out of 70 seats.

The main opposition Congress party is heading for a consolation victory in Punjab state, where it is leading in 69 of 117 seats. It is fighting a close battle with the BJP in Goa and Manipur states.

The results are expected later Saturday.

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