BJP seen winning four states on Modi boost

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Dalal Street expects lift from poll verdict

BJP seen winning four states on Modi boost
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to take control of two states from the Congress party and keep control in two others, boosting its campaign to end the ruling party’s 10-year hold on power in national voting next year, exit polls showed.

The BJP, which picked Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate in September, will win elections in states that account for almost a sixth of India’s population, including two currently held by the ruling Congress party, according to various exit polls. Vote counting and official results will occur on December 8.

The elections, held in recent weeks, are the final test for the two major national parties before elections that must be held by May 2014.

The Congress party has seen corruption scandals, elevated consumer inflation and the weakest economic growth in a decade erode its popularity.

“BJP victories in the four states may boost Indian stocks,” according to Deven Choksey, managing director of Mumbai-based KR Choksey Shares & Securities. The benchmark S&P BSE sensex, which has climbed 6.6 per cent this year, fell 0.7 per cent in Mumbai on Wednesday. “These results are good news for the stock market,” Choksey said. “The turnout in Delhi means a big victory margin for the BJP. A victory in Delhi will be the trump card for the BJP in the 2014 national elections.”

In a setback for the Congress, the exit polls showed the BJP gaining its highest seat tally since 1993 in Delhi while falling short of a majority. The BJP will have 29 of the capital’s 70 seats, with the incumbent Congress taking 21, according to an exit poll conducted by C-Voter and broadcast on the Times Now television. The Aam Aadmi Party, which campaigned against corruption while contesting its first election, is poised to win 16 seats to hold the balance of power, the poll showed.

The BJP will also wrest control of Rajasthan from Congress by winning 130 out of 200 seats, up from its current total of 78, according to the C-Voter poll.

While Modi’s party will retain power in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Congress is poised to gain seats from its current tallies, the poll showed. In Mizoram, a small state in the Northeast ruled by the Congress, one exit poll predicted a Congress victory. No margin of error or details of the poll methodology were given. All the state elections had record voter turnout.

Modi is projecting his record of governance and stronger-than-average economic growth in the state he has ruled since 2001 in an attempt to propel his party to national power.

The price of onions, a key ingredient in Indian cooking, has climbed 278 per cent in the last year. Higher food prices eat into consumers’ disposable incomes and disproportionately impact the poor who make up about two thirds of India’s population.

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