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India's ruling Congress Party-led alliance has scored victories in elections held in three states to choose local governments. The results will boost the Congress Party as it re-emerges as the country's major political force.
As results from elections held last week in three Indian states poured in Thursday, the Congress Party had much to celebrate.
The party and its allies scored clear wins in two states - the western state of Maharashtra, and the northeastern Arunachal Pradesh state. In the northern Haryana state, it emerged as the largest party, but failed to secure a majority.
The largest and most influential of these states is Maharashtra state, an industrialized region which is home to India's financial capital, Mumbai.
Ashok Chavan is the state's Chief Minister. "The government has worked in the last five years, and I feel that is the reason why we have been able to achieve this success," he said.
It is the second time this year that the Congress Party has emerged victorious in key polls. Five months ago, the party scored an unexpectedly decisive victory in national elections, trouncing its main opposition, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
Thursday's results are being seen as another major vote of confidence for the party, and its national leadership. Political analysts say they will also give a shot in the arm to the national government as it presses ahead with its policies, which include economic reforms.
Professor of History at Delhi University and political analyst Mahesh Rangarajan says the Congress Party's winning streak shows that it is re-emerging as a major political force.
"It is continuing to retain its hold on large and very popular states, so it is in the process of re-emerging as the pivot of the Indian political system," he said. "Overall this does indicate the secular shift of the voters towards the Congress as a party that can combine stability with inclusive growth. That trend which was clear in the recent general elections continues in the winter of 2009."
After dominating Indian politics for decades, the Congress Party began to decline in the mid 1990's as the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party rose to power. But the BJP's series of losses in recent elections have dealt a blow to its ambitions of wielding more political influence in the country.