State Election Victory Gives Coalition a Boost

From Times Wire Reports

India’s 5-month-old governing coalition received a major boost when the ruling Congress Party won a solid victory over Hindu nationalist parties in a state election seen as a test of the new government’s staying power.

Congress and its allies won 139 of 288 seats in the legislature of Maharashtra, India’s wealthiest and second-most-populous state of almost 100 million. The Hindu nationalist bloc won 118 seats, according to early results.

An additional 31 seats were won by smaller parties and independents, some of which will join the Congress-led coalition to form a new government, analysts said. Congress is headed by Sonia Gandhi, the widow of slain former Premier Rajiv Gandhi.