BJP suffer setback in Indian polls
DELHI, India (CNN) -- Early counting in India's state polls show Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could suffer a setback in several states.
Results from last week's elections are expected later Sunday, after the legislative assembly elections in four Indian states ended on Friday.
The BJP appeared to be losing control of three of the four states, while the election was still too close to forecast in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, also the party's traditional power base.
Although the results will not directly affect Vajpayee's central government, it could be a significant blow to the Indian prime minister and his ruling coalition of 23 parties, called the National Democratic Alliance, of which the BJP is the main party.
The prime minister needs to push through economic reforms to lift economic growth and tackle poverty -- cited by many voters as the key issue in the polls.
The election in Uttar Pradesh is being closely watched because the populous state is considered the "kingmaker state" -- many prominent Indian leaders come from Uttar Pradesh, also believed to be the key to ruling the rest of India.
Early trends indicate no party will win a majority in Uttar Pradesh.
About 120 million people voted in the four-state election, a low turnout.
The elections, which were held in four stages in a bid to curb clashes among the large number of voters, were electronically administered in three of the four states and results are expected to come in faster than usual.
The voters that participated in these elections will elect representatives to India's upper house of parliament over the next year.
The BJP's main campaign issue was the fight against terrorism, a major focus in India since a December attack on the country's parliament left 14 people dead, including the five attackers.
India blames the attack on Islamic militants supported by Pakistan, which has soured relations between the two nuclear neighbors in recent months and led to a massing of their troops along their common border.
WORLD TOP STORIES:
Blix: 'Iraq could do more'
N. Korea warns of nuclear conflict
Serb hardliner refuses to plead
NASA: Flight-deck video found
Caracas tense after bombs
|Back to the top|