Modi’s BJP heads for key India poll win

The vote is being seen as a referendum on Narendra ModiThe prime minister personally led his party’s campaign in the politically critical state

Early trends suggest that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to win crucial assembly elections in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

Mr Modi personally led the campaign in the country’s most populous state against regional rivals, the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj party.

Trends suggest the BJP is also set to win the northern state of Uttarakhand.

The main opposition Congress party is leading in Punjab, and Manipur states.

Mr Modi has been central to his party’s election strategy, and aggressively campaigned on a promise to bring growth and modernisation, and to root out corruption.

These were strong promises in an impoverished state like Uttar Pradesh where caste, family and religious affiliations are deeply entrenched.

Mr Modi also strongly backed his move to ban high value notes – amounting to 86% of India’s currency – last year as a measure to tackle corruption.

The incumbent chief minister, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, opposed the currency move, and told the electorate that Mr Modi had “taken money out of people’s pockets”, and hurt businesses in the state.

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