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In India, communists ousted in 2 of 4 state elections

The elections in four Indian states were read as something of a 'midterm' referendum, highlighting mounting concerns over corruption and lagging development.

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Trinamool Congress party leader Mamata Banerjee speaks to the supporters outside her residence in Kolkata, India, May 13. Counting of votes began Friday in India's fourth most-populous state of West Bengal, where India's ruling Congress and its ally Trinamool Congress were predicted to unseat a Communist-led government that has held power for 34 years.

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Indian election results Friday showed renewed strength for the central government’s ruling coalition, but also highlighted mounting voter concerns over corruption and uneven development.

Allies of the ruling Congress government won regional elections in West Bengal, Kerala, and Assam, but lost in Tamil Nadu amid a major corruption scandal there and a popular anticorruption sentiment sweeping the nation. The 140 million voters from these four states – out of 29 states nationwide – represent one-fifth of India's voting population.

These state elections came several years between national elections and are read partly as a “midterm” referendum on the national government. But state politics have their own dynamics, and the mixed results suggest national corruption scandals swirling around the Congress party were not enough to trump other concerns, including lagging development.

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