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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 05:08 GMT 06:08 UK
Indian state resolves deadlock
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and premier Manmohan Singh
The win in Maharashtra has come as a boost for Congress
The political deadlock over the formation of the next government of one of India's richest states, Maharashtra, has been resolved.

The chief minister will be from the Congress Party, which won a narrow majority in the recent state elections.

Its coalition partner, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will supply the deputy chief minister.

The poll was seen as key test of Congress popularity following its surprise general election win in May.

After several days of meetings between Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi and the head of the NCP, Sharad Pawar, spokespersons from both parties announced that a deal had been struck.

In return for backing a Congress chief minister, the NCP will also gain two extra cabinet posts and a junior minister in the state government.

BJP setback

It is still not clear who the chief minister will be although the incumbent, Sushil Kumar Shinde, is expected to retain the post.

The NCP won marginally more seats in the state election than Congress, which heads the national government.

The capital of Maharashtra, Mumbai is the home of India's film industry and its financial centre.

The election result represented a setback for the main opposition BJP, which had hoped to oust Congress from power with the help of its ally, the hardline regional Hindu Shiv Sena party.

Soon after its defeat, the BJP replaced its president Venkaiah Naidu with LK Advani, the former Indian deputy prime minister.

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