Indian supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrate outside the party office as state assembly votes are counted in Lucknow on March 11, 2017. / AFP / SANJAY KANOJIA
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Narendra Modi's party won a landslide victory in India's most populous state on Saturday in a massive vote of confidence for the prime minister halfway into his first term.Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won a surprise absolute majority in Uttar Pradesh in the north, which is home to 220 million people and seen as a key indicator of national politics.The party had been expected to perform well in UP, but few experts had predicted the scale of the victory in elections across five states viewed as a test of Modi's popularity after a controversial ban on high-value banknotes.The party won 21 of the 60 seats in the state, where it previously held none, behind Congress on 28 .The BJP fared poorly in the last UP state elections in 2012, winning only 47 out of 403 assembly seats, but it clinched 73 out of 80 parliamentary constituencies in 2014 with Modi standing in the holy city of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges.
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