India’s main opposition Congress party turned control of the crucial southern Karnataka state from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, according to a near complete vote count Saturday that boosted its prospects ahead of national elections due next year.
The poll results are expected to energize the largely divided opposition that is banking on forming a united front to challenge Modi in next year’s general election in which he will seek to extend his prime ministership for a third consecutive term.
Exit polls after the May 10 voting in the southern Indian state of Karnataka had projected that the opposition Congress party stood a better chance of forming the next government than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which was in power.
the Congress managed to win 135 of the 224 seats in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly despite those odds, securing 43 per cent votes, 5 per cent more than in the previous 2018 election, and 7 per cent more than the BJP this time. Modi’s party, which had won 104 seats in 2018, had to settle for 66 this time. The Janata Dal (Secular), or JD-S, the third major party in the state, got 19 seats.