Indian ruling BJP faces defeat in crucial state elections

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Indian ruling BJP faces defeat in crucial state elections

KOLKATA: The incumbent chief minister's party in India's West Bengal state has defeated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party in a state election held as the coronavirus pandemic surged to crisis levels.

Modi has been criticised for focusing on the elections instead of making the pandemic his top priority.

Some expert blame the federal election commission for allowing rallies and voting in which large crowds flouted rules on social distancing and mask-wearing.

Mamata Banerjee, 66, is set to be the chief of West Bengal for the third time after her Trinamool Congress party (TMC) won a two-thirds majority, taking more than 200 seats in the 294-seat state assembly, election commission officials said. Final counting for some seats was still underway.

Banerjee is now India's only woman chief minister.