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UPDATE 1-Modi's BJP makes big gains in Indian state polls - partial results

NEW DELHI, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party made big gains in two Indian state elections, partial results showed on Sunday, in an endorsement that will encourage him to step up the pace of economic reforms.

NEW DELHI Oct 19 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party made big gains in two Indian state elections, partial results showed on Sunday, in an endorsement that will encourage him to step up the pace of economic reforms.

Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was leading in 109 of 288 seats in Maharashtra, NDTV news said. That more than doubled its seat count in the western state that is home to Mumbai, the financial capital, but fell short of an outright majority.

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The BJP was ahead in 47 of 90 seats in Haryana, which borders the capital New Delhi to the west, enough to rule alone. The party's showing was just down from the May general election, when it won India's first parliamentary majority in 30 years.

The 64-year-old Modi, a gifted stump orator, hit the campaign trail hard and will be able to reap capital from the victories, although the BJP did not achieve its ambition to rule Maharashtra alone.

"There is a Modi wave," said Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar. "People want a leader who can deliver, people want a leader who is honest."

Both states, which voted on Wednesday, were bastions of the Congress party that has long dominated Indian politics. As in the general election, Congress was decimated, and risks sliding into oblivion under mother-son duo Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.

State elections determine seat shares in the upper house of parliament, where the BJP and its allies are in a minority. The BJP will need gains in a clutch of state polls until 2017 to secure the majority it needs to pass some legislation.

If final results show the BJP short of a majority in Maharashtra, it would probably team up with the regional Shiv Sena party, which is part of its national coalition. The two parties fell out during the state campaign.

Official results were due later on Sunday. (Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Reuters
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Reuters
Published on:
October 19, 2014
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