India ruling BJP struggling

May 12, 2004 at 5:56 PM
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NEW DELHI, May 12 (UPI) -- India's ruling alliance, struggling to win a parliament majority in the latest elections, Wednesday began wooing regional parties to come into its fold.

The National Democratic Alliance led by Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party must get 273 seats for a majority in the 545-member lower house of parliament to rule the country for another five years.

But that seemed an uphill task after the recent elections that ended Monday. Results of the voting in which more than 650 million were eligible to vote were to be declared Thursday but most exit polls said the BJP may not get a majority.

The most stunning development was the defeat of the Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Though a state election, his defeat was a blow to BJP because his party was one of the main partners in the ruling alliance.

Separately, the BJP's attempt to woo the regional DMK party in Tamil Nadu, another southern state, was spurned by its leader.

Smelling victory Thursday, DMK leader M. Karunanidhi told reporters Wednesday his party would not join any party in the new federal government. His party once had been an alliance supporter of Prime Minister Vajpayee.

In other developments, the Times of India reported S. Rajsekhar Reddy, the man who defeated Naidu in a landslide in Andhra Pradesh, would become the new chief minister.

Reddy belongs to the opposition Congress party led by Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

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