(Bloomberg) -- India’s ruling party is leading in three key states in local elections and is set to unseat the opposition in two of them, a strong show of support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After more than seven hours of counting, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has a wide lead over the Indian National Congress in Madhya Pradesh, the biggest of the four states reporting results on Sunday. That’s in line with most exit poll predictions.
The Congress party, which governs Rajasthan, is trailing behind the BJP in the northern state. And in a surprise upset, the BJP is leading in Chhattisgarh, where exit polls had predicted the Congress would retain control.
The only good news for the Congress party came in Telangana, where it looks set to clinch the southern state currently run by a regional party.
In total, five states held elections in November to choose lawmakers for their local assemblies. Counting in Mizoram will be done on Monday.
Latest Results From Election Commission (4:38 p.m.)
Congress President Says Results ‘Disappointing’ (4:02 p.m.)
The performance in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan “have no doubt been disappointing,” Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said. “But with determination, we reaffirm our strong resolve to rebuild and revive ourselves in these three states.” The party will “overcome temporary setbacks” and prepare for the upcoming national vote with the other opposition groups, he said.
Results Are Precursor for 2024 Vote, Minister Says (1:38 p.m.)
“We have been saying consistently that the next Lok Sabha elections, the BJP will score an even bigger victory and absolutely historic victory,” Piyush Goyal, India’s trade minister, told Press Trust of India. “This is a precursor to that and very clearly the people of India have spoken their mind.”
Congress Plans to Form Government in Telangana (11:44 a.m.)
Uttam Kumar Reddy, a lawmaker from the Congress party, said it would form the government in Telangana state, which is currently governed by Bharat Rashtra Samiti. Early trends from the Election Commission of India showed Congress was leading in more than half of the seats in the 119-member assembly.
“There is a special place for the Gandhi family in the hearts of the Telangana people,” Reddy told local media ANI. “We made a mistake in the 2014 and 2018 elections. This time, we corrected ourselves, and we are on the way to victory.”
BJP Workers Celebrate in Rajasthan (10:48 a.m.)
BJP workers danced and celebrated in the streets outside their offices in the Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur, as early trends showed Modi’s party may unseat the opposition in the state. Members were seen dancing and beating drums, according to footage posted by the local media ANI on social media site X.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Predicts BJP Win (10:45 a.m.)
“I have said this before that a comfortable majority will come to the BJP because the love of the people could be seen everywhere,” Shivraj Singh Chouhan, chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, said on TV. The BJP is leading the main opposition in the early vote count in the state, which is currently governed by the party.
Modi May Visit Party Headquarters in New Delhi (10:45 a.m.)
Modi is likely to visit the ruling party’s headquarters in New Delhi at 6 p.m. today, CNBC-TV18 reported. Early counting showed the BJP may retain power in Madhya Pradesh and unseat the opposition in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
--With assistance from Sudhi Ranjan Sen, Akriti Sharma and Devidutta Tripathy.
(Updates with latest details.)
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