Indian ruling BJP faces an embarassment shocker in state polls

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Indian ruling BJP faces an embarassment shocker in state polls

NEW DELHI - Indian ruling BJP faces an embarassment shocker in state polls.

BJP, which had ruled the states of Maharashtra and Haryana with a majority, may now have to rely on regional parties to form coalition governments.

In the 288-seat Maharashtra Assembly, BJP had 122 seats before the elections, its regional ally Shiv Sena had 63, BJP's rival, the Congress party, had 42, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had 41 and smaller regional parties and independents had 20 seats.

Votes are being tallied for elections held on Monday (21 October); the BJP has reportedly won 60 seats, and is leading in other districts which may allow it to take 43 additional seats, as of 1700 Hrs IST. Its rival, the Congress party, won 22 seats and is expected to take another 23.

Shiv Sena has won 33 seats and is expected to take another 24; NCP has won 26 seats and is expected to take another 27. Smaller regional parties and independent candidates have won or are expected to win 30 seats.

In the 90-state assembly of the northern state of Haryana, where the BJP had 47 seats, it reportedly has 25 seats so far and is leading in 15.

The rival Congress party has won 19 seats and leads in 12; the region's Indian National Lok Dal party, which had 19 seats earlier, could manage to win only one seat.

While the BJP, alongside its ally Shiv Sena, could get a majority in Maharashtra, it may have to pull in regional parties or independents in Haryana to form a government, as the state appears to be heading for a fractured verdict.

Elections in these two states – the first since Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to power in the nation's parliament, were seen as endorsement of Modi’s policies, especially his economic policies, which have invited the criticism of opposition parties.

Both Modi and BJP President and federal Home Minister Amit Shah had campaigned extensively for the party and focused on the issue of amending Article 370 of the constitution to strip the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Sputnik has reported.

New Delhi