Tough battle for India’s Modi in key state polls


KOLKATA: Millions of voters head to the polls Monday in two Indian states, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party facing a tough fight as it tries to tighten its grip on power nationally. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) must win state elections to gain more seats in the nation’s Upper House of Parliament, which has been blocking reforms seen as crucial to fuelling economic growth. Most members of the upper house, which has obstructed measures such as a planned standardized goods and services tax, are indirectly elected by state legislatures. The Hindu nationalist BJP is seen as having little chance in the large rural state of West Bengal in eastern India against a feisty chief minister popular with millions of impoverished voters.



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