Gujarat: BJP increases lead in India state election


International Desk

The BJP is leading in 99 of the 175 seats for which leads are available, according to election authorities. The main rival Congress party is leading in 71 seats. In 2012, the BJP won 116 seats in the 182-seat assembly. Gujarat is a stronghold state for Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has governed there for 22 years. Mr Modi was thrice chief minister of Gujarat and won the national vote because of his work there. To lose state polls will be a loss of face. He held more than three dozen meetings in the state and campaigned on economic development and Hindu nationalism to woo voters. The Congress is expected to put up a spirited fight and improve upon its performance in 2012, when it won 61 seats. The BJP is also forging ahead in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, where it is leading in 35 of the 59 seats for which leads are available. The Congress is leading in 21 seats. He sparked controversy by alleging that the Congress party was helping Pakistan to influence the state polls. Polling in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh was held between 9 and 14 December. More than 68% of Gujarat’s 43 million eligible voters cast their ballots, while Himachal Pradesh saw a voter turnout of about 74%.