India's ruling BJP loses three crucial states in regional elections

India's ruling Hindu nationalists suffer blow in state elections

The Congress leader said that despite the likely loss of a large number of seats, the BJP was still desperate to form a government in the state but will not succeed.

"Rahul Gandhi should get full credit", said Congress Party leader Shashi Tharoor, who campaigned against the party's leader, adding that Mr Gandhi's hard-fought campaigning had won him over. Meanwhile, the Congress party in the state is facing an internal conflict: If the party wins in the state, it will have to select a Chief Ministerial candidate from between political rivals Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot.

In a tweet, Modi congratulated the Congress party for its victory and said he accepted the outcome with humility. With national elections to be held by May 2019, the narrative has shifted in India. However, the party remains in a neck-to-neck battle overall with the BJP, which has been ruling the state for the last 15 years.

"I am proud of the development works done by the BJP government in five years and believe that the upcoming government will continue the works and projects", Ms Raje said in a statement.

As of 9 a.m. on December 12, 2018, the Congress had won 67 seats and was leading in one, of which 36 seats were previously held by the BJP, according to the latest election results. The BSP, possibly the most critical ally for in any opposition coalition, had walked out of a Congress alliance in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Dozens of people, a majority of them Muslims, have been killed by so-called cow vigilantes in the past four years since Modi took power.

The results came as a shot in the arm for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
The results came as a shot in the arm for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

On Tuesday, celebrations erupted outside the Congress party headquarters in New Delhi, with supporters dancing, setting off firecrackers and brandishing posters praising Gandhi.

Regional parties - the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and the Mizo National Front (MNF) - are leading in these states.

Asked about who would be Chief Minister, he said the party would take a call.

The picture becomes clearer in the 10 Scheduled Caste (SC) reserved seats, where BJP had made a near clean sweep, winning 9 of them, in 2013.

"After this round of elections, Rahul Gandhi has emerged as a main challenger to Modi because it is under Gandhi's leadership that Congress has performed well in all the three states", Mukhopadhyay told Arab News.

Earlier, the federal government came under fire over a major showdown between the top two officials in the country's premier investigative agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Despite the emphasis Modi's government has placed on economic growth and employment, it has not delivered enough jobs for India's burgeoning population.

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