Indian ruling party in tough election fight in Modi's home state, vote count shows

From Reuters - December 17, 2017

NEW DELHI, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Indias ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was in a close fight with the main opposition in an election in Prime Minister Narendra Modis home state on Monday, trends from the early vote count showed.

A combined opposition led by the Congress had mounted a tough challenge in the western state of Gujarat, hoping to weaken Modi in his home base by exploiting discontent over lack of jobs and an unpopular national sales tax that hit business.

Trends from the count showed the BJP leading in 91 seats of the 182-member state assembly with the Congress 83, NDTV said. To rule a party needs to win 92 seats.

Indian stock markets opened weaker, with the 50-share NSE index down almost 2 percent. Almost all pre-vote and exit polls had predicted a comfortable victory, but the polls have often gone wrong in the past.

Modis party was ahead in the rugged northern Himachal Pradesh, the other state holding elections for a new assembly.


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