The Congress is on course for victory in the states of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and is leading a tight race in Madhya Pradesh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated the opposition "for their victories", saying his party accepts "the people's mandate with humility".
The central states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are widely regarded as BJP strongholds. To put the results in context, India's main opposition party has been consistently losing state elections since it was routed in the seismic 2014 elections which brought Mr Modi to power, winning less than 20% of the popular vote and securing 44 of the 543 seats. It is currently in power in only two large states.
The BJP won 62 of the 65 seats in these three key states in the last parliamentary elections. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are also part of a bellwether region - the Hindi-speaking heartland of India - which gave the BJP and its allies 203 of the 225 seats that they won in 2014.
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