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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 15:11 GMT
India's BJP mulls poll blow
Women voters
Majority of voters rejected the Bharatiya Janata Party
India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is holding talks in Delhi to review its dismal performance in four state elections held this month.

It is a clear verdict against the BJP. We were not expecting more than this

Sonia Gandhi, Congress party chief

Results of three of the four states which went to polls were announced on Sunday and the BJP has lost control of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Punjab.

Final results from Manipur are expected on Tuesday - but results so far show the BJP faring poorly.

The main opposition Congress Party has got a clear majority in two states - but there are prospects of a hung assembly in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

UP - India's most populous state - is a key political asset.

The BBC's Satish Jacob in Delhi says although the results do not pose any immediate threat to the BJP-led government, the psychological impact of losing power in UP would be huge.

Political manoeuvres

The BJP President Jana Krishnamurthy has ruled out any prospect of the party joining forces with other groups to form the government in UP.

Speaking to journalists after a meeting of the BJP parliamentary party in Delhi, he said the voters have given the party "the task of functioning as an opposition party in all three states."

"The people's verdict has to be respected," he said.

Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi: Reason to smile

The regional Samajwadi Party has emerged as the largest party in UP while the BJP came second followed closely by the Bahujan Samaj Party - representing lower caste Hindus.

But none can form the next government on its own and efforts will have to be made to seek allies.

A prolonged period of political manoeuvring in the state is now expected.

High spirits

The election results have boosted the morale of the Congress party.

The party's main policy-making body - the Congress Working Committee - met in Delhi late on Sunday to discuss the situation.

The party came a poor fourth in UP, but it emerged victorious in the newly-created hill state of Uttaranchal and the wealthy northern state of Punjab.

Party legislators would soon be meeting in the two states to choose new chief ministers.

The BBC's Jill Mcgivering
"The BJP still seems to be in shock"
See also:

21 Feb 02 | South Asia
Voting ends in key India elections
14 Feb 02 | South Asia
Key Indian state polls begin
14 Feb 02 | South Asia
In pictures: India's state polls
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