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Jharkhand election results: BJP concedes defeat amid citizenship row

The Congress and its allies have won, or are leading, in 46 of the 81 seats, while the BJP is on course to take 25.

India's main opposition Congress party and its allies are set to win Jharkhand state elections in a setback for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

This is the second key state the BJP has lost since sweeping parliamentary elections in May.

The result will embolden its opponents amid nationwide protests against a new citizenship law seen as anti-Muslim.

With votes still being counted in Jharkhand in the north-east, the regional Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has emerged as the single largest party. Together with the Congress it is set to form the new government, results showed.

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Senior BJP leaders said they would "accept the people's mandate". The party failed to form the government in Maharashtra state last month after falling out with its regional ally, Shiv Sena.

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Why the result is crucial

Although the election in Jharkhand was fought largely on local issues, the BJP's defeat is being seen as a setback for its policies.

Three of the five phases of the election were held as protests took place against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) across the country. More than 20 people have died during the protests, with many of them shot, according to local media.

The law provides citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the law would "help the persecuted" - but critics say it discriminates against Muslims.

Others - particularly in border states - fear being "overrun" by new citizens

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December 24, 2019

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