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The BBC's Mike Wooldrige reports
"Congress hit a new low in the general election"
 real 28k

Friday, 25 February, 2000, 15:40 GMT
Congress trailing in state polls

campaign rally by L K Advani of bjp
Voters seem to have heeded the BJP and its allies


Early results from state elections in India show the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its regional allies ahead of the opposition Congress Party in two out of four contests.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance looks to set to oust the Congress Party from government in the eastern state of Orissa, devastated by a cyclone last year.

Returns so far show the BJP and its local ally, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), ahead in most constituencies.

Analysts say voters seem to be angry over the poor nature of relief work after the cyclone in which at least 10,000 people died and millions were made homeless.

In Haryana state in the north, the Indian National Lok Dal - also a regional ally of the BJP - is leading in most constituencies. Congress was reported to be in third position.

Bihar contest

In the state of Bihar, however, the BJP and its allies were engaged in a close contest with the regional powerbroker and flamboyant former chief minister, Laloo Prasad Yadav.

Also doing well in Bihar - India's most lawless state - were a collection of small parties.

However, the Congress Party will be relieved at the likely outcome in Manipur state in the far north-east.

Partial results show Congress and its allies there are in the lead.

The polls were seen as the first significant test for the BJP-led coalition government, as well as an opportunity for the Congress to restore its fortunes after its poor showing in last year's general elections.

Voting was staggered in the states over several differeent days.

The final tally is expected to be known early on Saturday.
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See also:
11 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Guide to Indian state elections
17 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Eight dead in Bihar poll violence
16 Oct 99 |  South Asia
Vajpayee promises tolerance
08 Oct 99 |  South Asia
Analysis: Allies may hamper BJP

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