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BJP breaks new ground in Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand with big electoral gains

Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself campaigned heavily across Kashmir as BJP wants closer integration of the revolt-torn Himalayan region with the rest of the country.

Fayaz Bukhariand Imran Khan | December 23, 2014 | Updated 20:19 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo: Reuters)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made big electoral gains in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir and captured power in Jharkhand on Tuesday, underscoring the Hindu nationalist's dominance of the political landscape.

The BJP won 25 of 87 seats in Kashmir, its best showing ever in the Muslim-majority state, but still way short of a simple majority that it needed to seize power.

The Prime Minister himself campaigned heavily across Kashmir, a top priority for the BJP, which wants closer integration of the revolt-torn Himalayan region with the rest of the country.

Still, it will remain a key player in the State where no single group attained a majority, raising the prospect of a coalition government led by the regional People's Democratic Party (PDP), which won 28 seats.

The rest of the seats were shared by regional parties, the Congress and independents.

FULL COVERAGE:Assembly Elections 2014

Separatists rejected the election and militants stepped up attacks to disrupt the month-long vote. Pakistan stakes a claim to the territory and calls for talks to resolve the 67-year-old dispute at the heart of hostility between the neighbouing countries.

"In Jammu and Kashmir we have improved our position significantly. We are now a relevant party in Jammu and Kashmir," BJP President Amit Shah told a press conference in the national capital as the results came in.

"I believe that voters have endorsed Modi's style of governance," Shah added.

PM Modi came to power in May promising to revive economic growth after the deepest slowdown in a decade under the previous UPA-government. The 64-year-old PM has since won a clutch of State elections.

Voters in the mineral-rich Jharkhand gave the BJP a clear majority, potentially making it easier for the Modi-government to kickstart mining projects urgently needed to reduce energy shortages.

State elections determine the number of seats parties have in the Rajya Sabha, where PM Modi's party lacks a majority.

The opposition blocked his plans to push through a legislation to increase foreign participation in the insurance sector in the Winter Session of Parliament that ended on Tuesday.

YEAR IN REVIEW:Major developments in the economy in 2014

(Reuters)

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