Gujarat elections return BJP party to power

Vol 6, PW 21 (18 Dec 02) News in Brief

It might not be good for India's image abroad, but the return to power of the Hindu supremacist BJP in Gujarat state elections this week will mean continuity of government, and that can only be good news for foreign oil companies operating in the state.

In a landslide victory, which surprised pundits on both sides of the political divide, the BJP won an additional 11 seats taking its total of state lawmakers to 125, while Congress won 52 seats, 11 less than before. Gujarat chief ministerNarendra Modi conducted a high profile campaign that was seen as widening the Hindu-Muslim divide soon after bloody riots in February and March that killed over 2,000 Muslims.

Independent commentators accuse the BJP of deliberately polarising voters on sectarian lines.

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