A regional party romped home in state elections in India's southern Tamil Nadu state on Monday, humiliating Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's Congress Party and making an early general election unlikely.
"A victory here would have persuaded him (Gandhi) to bring general elections forward, but now he will stick to the original schedule of year-end," said C.T. Kurien, director of the Madras Institute of Development Studies.Because of India's ferocious summers, elections are held early or late in the year. The government's five-year term expires in December, and the choice was between a quick vote in March or April or a full-term one in November or December.
Gandhi's conqueror in Saturday's Tamil Nadu state assembly elections was Tamil politician Muthuvel Karunanidhi, who led the Dravida Munnetra Khazagam (DMK) party to victory in the last major poll before the general election.
The DMK won 143 of the 232 seats at stake with eight results still to be declared. Congress won only 25.
"This election is a turning point in Tamil Nadu. It is an end to glamour politics, with people voting on ideological grounds," said a Congress leader and member of parliament, Jayanti Natarajan.
Two northeastern states, Mizoram and Nagaland, also voted Saturday.