India Congress breakaway group wins Andhra by-election

Jagan Mohan Reddy's supporters celebrate election results on 15 June 2012 Jagan Mohan Reddy's supporters have been celebrating their victory

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A group which broke away from India's governing Congress party is sweeping crucial by-elections in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Candidates of YSR Congress party have won nine of the 18 seats where elections were held. The party is leading in six others.

YSR Congress is led by MP YS Jagan Mohan Reddy who has been in jail for the past 20 days on corruption charges.

Mr Reddy denies the charge. He has accused the Congress party of vendetta.

He is the son of YSR Reddy, the charismatic former state chief minister who died in a helicopter crash in 2009.

Both father and son were members of India's governing Congress party.

But after his father's death, the Congress ignored his bid for the chief minister's post and he quit, accusing the party of humiliating him and his family.

The BBC's Omer Farooq in Hyderabad says Mr Reddy's arrest appears to have helped his party win some sympathy votes.

With 153 seats in the 294-member Andhra Pradesh assembly, the Congress still retains a majority

There is no immediate threat to the government, but the results are expected to have an impact on the general elections which are due in 2014, our correspondent adds.

Voting for the by-elections was held on Tuesday.

The election became necessary after ruling Congress legislators were disqualified for joining the breakaway group.

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