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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 December 2007, 12:53 GMT
India's BJP wins Gujarat election
BJP supporters celebrate in front of a Narendra Modi poster
Narendra Modi led his party to a fourth straight poll victory
The Hindu nationalist BJP has won a key election in the western Indian state of Gujarat, final results show.

It marks a big victory for controversial right-wing Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is credited with pursuing successful economic policies.

The governing Congress party admitted defeat in the communally-divided state.

Correspondents say the victory will boost the BJP as it challenges Congress in the run-up to a general election due in the next 18 months.

The BJP won 117 out of 182 seats in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, with Congress winning 59 and six seats going to the smaller parties, results from the Electoral Commission of India showed.

It is the fourth consecutive BJP election victory in Gujarat.

Gandhi setback

The Congress party acknowledged its defeat in Gujarat, but reminded voters of religious riots in 2002.

Map of India
Mr Modi has been accused of failing to protect Muslims in the riots, which claimed the lives of 1,000 people.

"I do not grudge him the victory," Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the Times of India.

However, he added that the win did not remove the "blot" of the religious riots of 2002.

The Congress party campaigned hard to defeat him, with major rallies by its top leaders including Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul, the latest member of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in Indian politics.

But their defeat means that it is back to the drawing board and a major setback ahead of the more important national poll, the BBC's correspondent in Delhi, Sanjoy Majumder, says.

BJP supporters celebrate their election victory

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