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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 05:52 GMT
India polls produce mixed outcome
India's Congress Party has won a landslide victory in elections in the northern state of Haryana but suffered a setback in two other states.

Congress and its allies suffered setbacks in the politically crucial state of Bihar and in Jharkhand.

Both states threw up hung assemblies and it is unclear who will form the next government there.

The outcome in the three states is unlikely to affect the governing Congress-led coalition nationally.

The elections took place earlier this month, with voting in Bihar and Jharkhand divided into three separate phases to allow greater security.

At least 30 people were killed in poll violence in the two states, blamed mainly on Maoist rebels who had vowed to disrupt the elections.

'People's mandate'

Congress took 67 seats in the 90-member assembly in Haryana, while the incumbent Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) got just nine, Election Commission officials said.

The result in Haryana means that Congress is back in power in the state for the first time in nine years, unseating the INLD and its allies in the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"This is a people's mandate against the INLD," INLD party leader Om Prakash Chautala said, adding that he would be stepping down as Haryana's chief minister.

But Congress' victory was tempered by news that one of its main allies, the regional Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), lost its majority in the country's poorest and most lawless state, Bihar.

The RJD is run by Laloo Prasad Yadav, one of India's most popular and colourful politicians and a senior member of the federal cabinet.

His wife Rabri Devi has resigned from her post as chief minister.

Despite the setback, he said he was confident of forming the next government because his party had won more seats than any others.

"I will not give up and our party will stake claim to form [the] government," he told journalists in the state capital Patna.

But the main opposition BJP-led alliance said the verdict was a vote against Mr Yadav's party.

In the adjoining state of Jharkhand, Congress appeared to have failed in its effort to oust the BJP winning just 26 of the 81 seats with 36 going to the BJP.

Smaller parties now hold the key to the next government.

Congress and its allies had hoped to perform strongly in all three states, following their surprise victory over the BJP in last year's national elections.

Voting ends in east Indian states
23 Feb 05 |  South Asia
Bihar's loyalties cast in stone
19 Feb 05 |  South Asia
High turnout in India state polls
15 Feb 05 |  South Asia
Indian states vote amid violence
03 Feb 05 |  South Asia
Police rescue abducted Bihar boy
02 Feb 05 |  South Asia
Congress wins in key Indian state
16 Oct 04 |  South Asia

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