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    Indian supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) carry a party flag on their way to attend a campaign rally while wearing masks of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the national elections in Siliguri on April 3, 2019

    India’s Ruling BJP Gets Shocker in Regional Assembly Polls, Fails to Achieve Big Predicted Win

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The counting of votes for the regional assemblies of two Indian states has resulted in an unpleasant surprise for the country's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as it failed to get a majority on its own in the western state of Maharashtra or the northern state of Haryana, contrary to poll predictions.

    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 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was returned to power in the federal Parliament, were seen as endorsement of Modi’s policies, especially his economic policies, which have come in for criticism from opposition parties. Both Modi and BJP President and federal Home Minister Amit Shah had campaigned extensively for the party and raised mainly the issue of amending Artilce 370 of the constitution to strip the special status to restive state of Jammu and Kashmir.

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