Opposition parties in India are celebrating results in recent state elections as a major blow to India's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition. The opposition won legislative assembly elections in four states and a union territory.

The BJP cannot claim to be a national party since its strength is in only a few states in the north, claimed Congress Party spokesman Anil Shastri. "The (BJP) is getting irrelevant day by day in the Indian political scenario," he asserted. "The government has also become a lame duck government with its allies pulling from different sides. The election results have tremendously weakened the government at the center."

In May, the opposition Congress Party-led coalitions won assembly elections in the northeastern state of Assam, the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and the union territory of Pondicherry. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) won in the eastern state of West Bengal for the sixth straight time.

The Congress Party — and parties supported by it — now leads governments in 11 of India's 28 states: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar (Congress Party supported Rashtriya Janta Dal, or RJD), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu (Congress formed alliance with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kalakam party, or AIADMK), Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Rajasthan, and Chattisgarh. The National Capital Territory, Delhi, and the union territory of Pondicherry also are ruled by the Congress Party.

But Vijay Kumar Malhotra, senior BJP lawmaker and party spokesman, downplayed the impact of the recent polls on the ruling coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

"I do not think that the election results have any impact on the central government," he said. "The ...

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