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India's ruling Hindu nationalists suffer blow in state elections

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Al Jazeera News :
India's ruling party lost power in three key states on Tuesday, dealing Prime Minister Narendra Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014 and boosting the opposition ahead of general elections next year.
The results in the northern states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh could force the federal government run by Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to raise spending in the countryside, where more than two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion people live.
Political analysts said the BJP's defeat underscores rural dismay with the government and could help unite the opposition led by the Congress party.
Sanjay Jha, a spokesman of the Congress party, said that farmers' distress, joblessness of the youth and rising inequalities in the society were the main agenda during the elections.
He told Al Jazeera that the attacks on the Dalits and the minorities under the BJP governments also made electorate turn away from the right-wing party.
Divisive campaign
Activists and opposition parties have accused the BJP of running a divisive campaign and allowing Hindu far-right groups to run amok on the issue of cow slaughter, which is a crime in most Indian states.
Dozens of people, a majority of them Muslims, have been killed by so-called cow vigilantes in the past four years since Modi took power.

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