[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Congress concedes Indian poll loss
Ruling BJP to be re-elected in Gujarat, polarised since 2002 by religious riots.
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2007 01:54 GMT
Despite his popularity among voters, Modi is blamed
by Muslims for failing to stop the 2002 riots [EPA]
India's ruling Congress party has conceded defeat in elections in the western state of Gujarat.
 
Vote counting trends on Sunday showed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was heading for a strong majority.
Abhishek Singhvi, a national spokesman of Congress, said, referring to Narendra Modi, 57, the chief minister of BJP-governed Gujarat: "It is a great victory for him, it is a remarkable victory.

"We congratulate him."
Local television said that the BJP was set to return to power for a fourth term in Gujarat, with leads in 117 of the state's 182 assembly constituencies.
 
The Congress party received heavier losses than expected, winning 62 seats. Independent candidates took three.
 
Polarisation
 
The religious polarisation which affects large parts of the state was plain for all to see during Sunday's second phase of voting.
 
Many Hindu voters expressed admiration for Modi's performance, especially in the economic field, and appeared to be the main constituency of the ruling BJP.
 
Muslims, by contrast, were unanimous in their opposition to Modi's leadership and continued BJP rule.
 
Muslims make up nine per cent of the state's population, and feel they have been neglected and marginalised with the welfare of Hindus the Modi government's only priority.

The election results in Gujarat, one of India's richest and fastest-growing states, is of significance for the country's two main parties, the Congress and the BJP, in the run-up to national elections.
 
They are due by mid-2009 but could come earlier, with the Congress-led ruling coalition in New Delhi wobbling under pressure from key communist allies who oppose a nuclear-energy deal with the US.
 
Modi stood accused of encouraging the riots in 2002 in which hundreds of people, most of them Muslims, were killed.
 
He contested a seat in Ahmedabad and dominated political debate in the state.
Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.