India poll results: Modi set to retain grip on home state

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Modi set to retain grip on home state after bellwether vote

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party is set to return to power in his home state, an election that’s considered a bellwether before the national vote in early 2019. Stocks erased the day’s losses.


The Bharatiya Janata Party was leading in 101 seats in the 182-seat Gujarat legislature as of 11:26am local time, according to early trends from the Election Commission of India. That’s more than the 92 needed for a majority though this would be the BJP’s lowest tally in more than two decades. The main opposition Congress party was ahead in 73 seats.

A narrower victory may prompt Modi to resort to populist spending to boost support before he faces re-election in early 2019. That risks widening India’s already bloated budget deficit and pressure the battered bond market. The result could also embolden Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who tapped into discontent against Modi’s economic policies before as many as eight state elections over the next year.

“BJP will have to take some corrective measures in terms of the discontent on the ground but I don’t know how far they will succeed in that,” said Sudha Pai, who taught political studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. These include the creation of jobs for the youth as well as better incomes for farmers, she said.

The BJP has held Gujarat for about two decades with Modi at the helm for more than 12 years. He used his stewardship of Gujarat as a launchpad for his national campaign in 2014, pledging business-friendly policies and development for all. However, last year’s ban on high-value currency notes and this year’s chaotic roll out of the goods and services tax has hit traders and textile workers in Gujarat.

The Congress party, which had been written off earlier in the year, found its voice and attacked the administration as a “government for the rich.”

“A few months ago, the market believed that the state election in Gujarat was a non-event with a foregone conclusion,” analysts at CLSA led by Mumbai-based Mahesh Nandurkar wrote in a report on Thursday. “But the changes in the political scenario over the last few months have turned the election into an event.”

India’s main stock index – which had slumped as much as 2.6 percent earlier Monday while Modi’s party was trailing – recovered to gain 0.8 percent as it became clearer that the BJP would win a majority.

The BJP also seemed poised to wrest the small Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh from the Congress, according to the Election Commission’s early trends.

BJP will form majority governments in Gujarat, Himachal: Rajnath

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the BJP was going to form majority governments in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and the elections results in both states were as per its expectations.

“The results are as per our expectations. We are going to form majority governments in both states,” Rajnath Singh told reporters outside Parliament.

Asked if the BJP’s poll victory in the assembly elections was an affirmation of people’s faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Home Minister said: “Yes, it is. It is a seal of people’s faith in his development work.”

After early hiccups, BJP set to retain power in Gujarat

Gujarat’s ruling BJP on Monday pledged to retain power as its candidates forged ahead of the main opposition Congress in 98 of the 182 Assembly seats, six more than the half-way mark needed to control the House.

Trends from counting centres had indicated a see-saw battle for about 45 minutes, with the Congress at times inching ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party. But ultimately the BJP sprinted ahead but not in the emphatic manner as exit polls had predicted.

Trailing initially after the vote count began at 8 am, BJP nominees were on the victory lap in 98 constituencies and the Congress in 80. The probable winners in four seats appeared to be smaller parties or independents.

In a surprising development, both Chief Minister Vijay Rupani (Rajkot West) and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel (Mehsana) were trailing to their Congress opponents.

At one time, overjoyed Congress activists, expecting a victory, began celebrating in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. The stock markets too took a beating. But the Congress celebrations were shortlived.

“We are going to form a government in Gujarat. People have voted for us on development issues,” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain told the media.

Before the BJP crossed the half-way mark, Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza was equally confident.

“People have got sick and tired of the 22 years of BJP misrule in Gujarat. The Gujarat model which the BJP touted so proudly to take power nationally is not clicking in Gujarat… We are sure we will form the government.”

It was the first Assembly election in Gujarat since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014. Modi had led the BJP to victory in the election in 2012.

Key Indian equity indices recover, after Gujarat shock

Key indices of the Indian equities markets recovered on Monday after early indications of a possible BJP defeat in Gujarat sent the market plunging during early morning trade session.

Both the S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty took an early beating but recovered from the day’s low levels as value buying helped pair initial losses following reports that the Bharatiya Janata Party was set to retain power in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.

There has been an intra-day swing between the highest and lowest point of trade at the S&P BSE Sensex of over 800 points.

At 9.50 a.m., the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded lower by 36.30 points or 0.35 per cent at 10,296.95 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 33,364.52 points, traded at 33,320.20 points — down 142.77 points or 0.43 per cent — from its previous close.

The Sensex touched a high of 33,398.73 points and a low of 32,595.63 points during the intra-day trade so far.

The BSE market breadth was bearish as only 1,091 stocks advanced against a decline of 884 scrips. 

BJP poised to take power in Himachal

The BJP was set to take power in Himachal Pradesh as its candidates were on the victory lap in 36 of the 68 Assembly elections on Monday.

Trends from counting centres across the hill state showed the Congress was ahead in 21 constituencies while smaller parties and independents had inched ahead of all others in three seats.

The Bharatiya Janata Party needs 35 seats to control the Himachal Assembly.

State BJP spokesperson Ganesh Dutt told IANS: “We have crossed the half-way mark. This clearly indicates we are going to form the government in the state.”

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh (Arki) and his son Vikramaditya Singh (Shimla Rural) were, however, ahead of their BJP rivals.

State BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti trailed to the Congress from Una.

A total of 337 candidates contested the November 9 election. A total of 37,83,580 people voted in the hill state — a record 75.28 per cent polling.

The Congress and the BJP contested in all the 68 constituencies. Most exit polls had predicted the BJP’s return to power with a majority.

The state has alternately elected Congress 

BJP ahead of Congress in Himachal

The ruling Congress trailed to the BJP on Monday in counting trends from the just ended Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.

Officials in counting centres said that Bharatiya Janata Party candidates were ahead in 21 seats and the Congress in 14.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh were ahead of their BJP rivals in Arki and Shimla (Rural) constituencies.

State BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti trailed to the Congress from Una.

The verdict will decide the fate of 337 candidates including Chief Ministerial nominees Virbhadra Singh and Prem Kumar Dhumal (BJP). A total of 37,83,580 people voted in the hill state — a record 75.28 per cent polling.

The Congress and the BJP contested in all the 68 constituencies. Most exit polls had predicted the BJP’s return to power with an absolute majority.

The hill state has alternately elected Congress and BJP governments since 1985. In 2012, the Congress won 36 seats and the BJP 26. Independents won six seats.

Sensex tanks 867 pts on Gujarat election trend, crashing rupee

Stocks went into a tailspin right at the start on Monday after early trend suggested that the BJP and the Congress are locked in a tight race to win Gujarat.

The benchmark BSE Sensex tanked as much as 867 points to breach below the psychological 33,000-mark while the NSE Nifty plunged 258 points in the opening session within one hour of counting of votes for Gujarat as well as Himachal Pradesh.

The 30-share index crashed by 867.34 points, or 2.59 per cent, to 32,595.63, with all sectoral indices led by realty, IT, teck, power and and banking trading in the negative zone with losses of up to 1.74 per cent.

The gauge had rallied 409.93 points in the previous two sessions after exit polls predicted BJP’s win in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly polls.

Also, the broader NSE Nifty was quoting sharply lower by 258.45 points, or 10,074.80.

The rupee crashed 68 paise to trade at 64.72 against the dollar, which dampened sentiment further. 

Gujarat CM, Deputy CM trailing

In a surprising development, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel were trailing on Monday as officials counted the votes polled in the Assembly elections. Both Rupani and Patel were at the second place in Rajkot West and Mehsana constituencies respectively. The December 9 and 14 contest was the first election in the state after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014.

BJP, Congress fight it out in Gujarat

Gujarat’s ruling BJP and the main opposition Congress were locked in a neck and neck contest as officials counted the millions of votes polled in the just ended Assembly elections.

Trends from counting centres across the state put Bharatiya Janata Party candidates ahead in 88 seats while Congress nominees were forging ahead in 72 constituencies. The Gujarat Assembly has 182 seats. Early trends showed the BJP ahead right from the time the vote count began at 8am. But the Congress began to catch up as the counting progressed across the state. Both the BJP and the Congress claimed they were confident of winning in Gujarat. “We are going to form a government in Gujarat. People have voted for us on development issues,” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain told the media. Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza said: “People have got sick and tired of the 22 years of BJP misrule in Gujarat. The Gujarat model which the BJP touted so proudly to take power nationally is not clicking in Gujarat… We are confident we will form the government.” It was the first Assembly election in Gujarat since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014. Modi had led the BJP to victory in the election in 2012.

BJP leads in Himachal

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) inched ahead of the ruling Congress on Monday as officials counted the votes polled in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.

Trends emerging from counting centres showed that BJP candidates were racing ahead in seven of the 68 seats while Congress nominees were in the lead in four.

The verdict will decide the fate of 337 candidates including Chief Ministerial nominees Virbhadra Singh (Congress) and Prem Kumar Dhumal (BJP). A total of 37,83,580 people voted in the hill state — a record 75.28 per cent polling.

The Congress and the BJP contested in all the 68 constituencies. Most exit polls have indicated the BJP’s return to power with an absolute majority.

The state has alternately elected Congress and BJP governments since 1985. In 2012, the Congress won 36 seats and the BJP 26. Independents won six seats.

BJP leads in Gujarat, confident of retaining power

Gujarat’s ruling BJP on Monday vowed to retain power as vote count showed its candidates had forged far ahead of the Congress in the just ended assembly elections.

“We are going to form a government in Gujarat. People have voted for us on development issues,” Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shahnawaz Hussain told the media.

Election Commission officials indicated as millions of votes cast in the December 9 and 14 election were counted that BJP candidates were leading in 55 seats and those of the Congress in 37 constituencies.

Gujarat has 182 Assembly seats. The BJP has ruled the state since 1995.

Vote count in Himachal begins

Counting of votes polled in all the 68 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh that went to the polls on November 9 began on Monday across the state, Chief Electoral Officer Pushpendra Rajput said.

The verdict will decide the fate of 337 candidates including Chief Ministerial nominees Virbhadra Singh (Congress) and Prem Kumar Dhumal (Bharatiya Janata Party).

A total of 37,83,580 people voted — a record 75.28 per cent polling.

The Congress and the BJP contested in all the 68 constituencies while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) fielded 42 candidates and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) 14.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which made its debut in Himachal in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, preferred to stay away this time.

While most exit polls have indicated the BJP’s return to power with an absolute majority, political observers said it was a neck-and-neck contest between the Congress and the BJP.

The state has alternately elected Congress and BJP governments since 1985. In 2012, the Congress won 36 seats and the BJP 26. Independents won six seats.

 

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