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India PM suffers Bihar election setback

November 8, 2015 5:02 pm

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has admitted defeat for his governing BJP in a key regional election in the eastern state of Bihar.

An alliance of regional parties took 178 seats out of 243. The BJP won 58.

Mr Modi won a convincing victory in last year’s national elections, but this poll was seen as a referendum on his economic programme.

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Defeat is a major setback for the prime minister, says the BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder, in Delhi.

However, a spokesman for the Hindu-led nationalist BJP rejected suggestions the result was a personal blow for Mr Modi, saying the party “managed a creditable performance”.

The prime minister had been hoping a victory in Bihar would boost his party’s strength in India’s upper house of parliament, which is made up of representatives of state legislatures and where he lacks a majority.

With a population of 100 million, Bihar is one of India’s largest states and one of the poorest.

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