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Indian local election looking less certain for Modi

BJP setback in Indian mountain state could influence important vote in Gujarat

HENNY SENDER, Nikkei Asian Review columnist | India

It is harvest time in the orchards of Himachal Pradesh. If they are not swiftly plucked, the ripe red apples will fall off the trees and rot in the mountain valleys of this largely rural state in India's northwest, which is a 12- to 16-hour drive from New Delhi.

According to India's 2011 census, 90% of the people of Himachal Pradesh live in remote rural areas -- the highest proportion for any of India's states, according to the state government's 2016-2017 annual economic survey. "Dependency on agriculture/horticulture is eminent as it provides direct employment to about 62% of total workers," the survey report says, adding that 88% of holdings are considered "small and marginal."

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