India's Hindu nationalist party has won re-election in the western state of Gujarat, gaining an absolute majority in the state assembly.
Election officials say the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- India's main national opposition group -- has captured nearly twice the seats as India's-ruling Congress Party in the 182-seat Gujarat legislature. Sunday's vote counting followed two rounds of voting December 11th and 16th.
Congress Party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi congratulated Gujarat's Chief Minister and BJP leader Narendra Modi on his victory. Modi thanked voters for rejecting what he termed negative propaganda spread by his opponents.
Gujarat's religious divisions and the pro-Hindu policies of Modi were key factors in the election campaign. The chief minister's opponents charged that he failed to protect Muslims during rioting in Gujarat five years ago that killed more than one thousand people.
Indian media reported Sunday that the already top-level security around Modi has been increased after intelligence officials warned he may be targeted by suicide bombers of the Pakistan-based Lakshar-e-Toiba. The group has called for the restoration of Islamic rule all over India.
Gujarat is one of India's richest and fastest growing states.
The state elections were seen as a test of support for the country's two main parties - BJP and Congress - ahead of national elections due by mid-2009.
More analysis by our Kolkata stringer Goutam Gupta.