Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Hindu nationalist party today won unexpected victories over the incumbent Congress party in three state elections.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, and its allies in India’s government had previously won only four of the 15 major Indian state elections held since Vajpayee became prime minister in 1998.
The party won decisive majorities in central Madhya Pradesh state and north-western Rajasthan.
Though the vote was close in the small tribal state of Chhattisgarh, the Congress party conceded defeat.
“We respect the people’s verdict and will play the role of constructive opposition in the future development of the state,” said the incumbent top elected official, Ajit Jogi, after the BJP showed 35 clear wins and 16 leads out of 90 districts, compared to 29 wins and six leads for Congress.
The Congress party – the main opposition on the national level – had the consolation of winning in the small New Delhi state that includes India’s capital.