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Karnataka results: Congress ahead of Modi's BJP in key India state polls


India's opposition Congress party is ahead of Prime Minister's Narendra Modi's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a crucial election in the southern state of Karnataka, according to early trends.

Experts say a win in Karnataka would give the Congress party a much-needed morale boost ahead of the national election due next year. Karnataka - the BJP's only bastion in southern India and home to tech hub Bangalore - is the first of five big states to go to the polls this year.

Dozens of Congress supporters have gathered outside the party headquarters in Bangalore and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting victory slogans.

According to the Election Commission's website, the Congress is currently leading in more than 120 out of 224 state assembly seats - it needs a simple majority of 113 seats to form the government on its own. The BJP is currently ahead in less than 70 seats, while the Janata Dal (Secular) is leading in 22.

Mr Modi had run a gruelling campaign - addressing several rallies and roadshows within a span of 10 days - aimed at helping the BJP retain power in the state. The Congress's efforts were led by national leaders including Mr Gandhi and party president Mallikarjun Kharge, along with state leaders Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar (both of whom are in the running to become chief minister if the party wins).

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