India’s State Election Results to Test Modi’s Support

(Bloomberg) -- India will begin releasing results of recent state elections on Sunday, providing important clues about voter support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party as he seeks a third term in office.

Three northern states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — will be key to watch, since they are spread across what’s known as the Hindi heartland of India, a region where Modi enjoys strong support. In total, five states held elections in November to choose lawmakers for their local assemblies.

Exit polls indicated Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party was poised to retain Madhya Pradesh and possibly swing Rajasthan its way from key rival, the Indian National Congress. The polls aren’t definitive and aren’t a reliable predictor of voter support in the nationwide elections due in 2024.

The Congress party is predicted to hold on to Chhattisgarh and clinch Telangana, a southern state currently ruled by a regional party, according to the exit polls. In the northeastern state of Mizoram, the polls show a close fight between two regional parties.