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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poll Projects Lead For India's Rulers

NEW DELHI -- India's Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao received a welcome boost Sunday when a late poll said his Congress party would have a slight lead in a hung parliament after a third phase of general elections this week.

The latest poll in the Times of India and The Economic Times, the country's two major newspapers, forecast 169 out of 543 seats for the Congress Party, ahead of 165 seen for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.

The socialist combination of the National Front and the Left Front are expected to win 145 seats in what now appears to be a cliff-hanger leading to a hung parliament.

"It's interesting to see opinion polls in the media finally supporting us," senior Congress leader and industry minister K. Karunakaran said Sunday.

Various opinion polls published before the elections showed the BJP emerging as the single-largest party, though well short of a majority to form a government. Voting took place in some 150 seats April 27, and 200 more May 2. The next phase is set for May 7. All but six results should be known by May 11.