India's BJP wins first majority in 30 years: official results

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has won a majority in parliament after official results showed Saturday it had crossed the crucial 272-seat mark in the 543-member parliament.

Figures from the Election Commission showed the BJP, led by Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, had won 275 constituencies and was leading in another seven where counting was still taking place.

The last party to win a majority was the left-leaning Congress in 1984 which suffered its worst-ever defeat on Friday with a projected 44 seats.

Modi, a four-time chief minister of India's western Gujarat state, also won landslide victories in both the constituencies where he was contesting. He is expected to give up one of them.

According to results published Saturday, the 63-year-old secured a seat in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, trouncing his rival, anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal, by 372,000 votes.

Modi also left rivals trailing in his other constituency, Vadodara in Gujarat, which he won by more than 570,000 votes.

The results, which hand him a strong mandate, will enable the party to form a government on its own, without seeking the support of any coalition partners, a rarity in India's fractious political scene.

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