Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party and its allies retained power in elections in three northeastern states on Thursday by securing comfortable majorities in the strategic border region.
Vote results showed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won in Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura, allowing it to either form a government independently or continue alliances with regional political parties to stay in power.
"If we are winning elections, it means we are winning people's confidence," Kiren Rijiju, a federal minister in Modi's government, said after results started trickling in and showing the BJP ahead.
In Tripura, the BJP was set to form the government for a second term. In Nagaland, the party managed to retain power in alliance with the regional Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).
In Meghalaya, the regional National People's Party (NPP) is set to form the government for a second successive term with support of the BJP, party officials in New Delhi said.
The three resource-rich states are among the least developed parts of the country, sharing borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. But the Modi government has in recent years pumped millions of dollars into the far-flung regions to build roads, railways and other infrastructure as part of a wider effort to mainstream their economies and bolster security there.
The BJP faces further popularity tests this year as six more states vote before national elections in 2024.