Communists set to win victories in two of five Indian states

Early results showed Communists set to win victories Thursday in two of five Indian states holding legislative elections.

The Left Front, which has ruled West Bengal state for nearly three decades, was leading the race in 204 districts for the state's 294-seat legislature, according to the Election Commission.

The front, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), also was likely to wrest power from the Congress party in the southern state of Kerala. It was ahead of its rivals in 94 districts for the 140-seat state legislature. Congress was leading in 45 districts, the commission said.

More than 50 percent of the votes already had been counted by midday Thursday.

Final results were expected within hours.

Voting in the five states took place in phases, spread over April and early May, to facilitate government forces' movements to various districts to prevent vote fraud and violence.

The Congress party, which heads the ruling federal coalition, is allied with communist groups in New Delhi, but is battling for power in West Bengal and Kerala. However, the outcomes there were unlikely to unsettle the Congress-led coalition in New Delhi.

Congress was leading the race in the northeastern state of Assam and Pondicherry state in the south.

In Assam, the party was ahead of its main rivals for 34 of 126 seats, the Election Commission said, reports the AP.


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