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India's ruling Congress party struggling in state elections

NEW DELHI, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- India's ruling party appeared to be headed to a setback in Sunday's state elections, early returns Sunday indicated.

Voters went to the polls in Delhi and three other states Sunday in what was a tune-up for the national elections in 2014.

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The Wall Street Journal said the initial results had the ruling Congress party being voted out of power in the capital Delhi and in the western state of Rajasthan.

The Bharatiya Janata Party held on in Madhya Pradesh. The vote in Chhattisgarh was too close to call Sunday and results from Mizoram in the northeast would not be available until Monday, the newspaper said.

The Aam Aadmi Party appeared to be headed for a majority in the 70-seat Delhi state legislature. The party was created only last year amid India's anti-corruption movement, the Journal said.

A spokeswoman for the Congress party downplayed the impact of the Delhi vote and voter perceptions that the party was responsible for corruption and inflation. "To a very small extent, these results may create a perception that the Congress is on the decline," said Renuka Chowdhury. "We have seen such setbacks and losses before. Of course, we don't take them casually or lightly."

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Congress had been the majority party in Delhi for some 15 years and the national ruling party of the past decade. It now faces national elections, which will be held before the end of May.

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