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DATE=10/3/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=INDIA ELECTION (L UPDATE) NUMBER=2-254605 BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: After five weeks of staggered voting in India, exit polls show the ruling Hindu Nationalist coalition being returned to power with a slim majority. The polls conducted at each stage of the five-phase voting process were released late Sunday by India's state television network, at the end of regular voting. At least 15 people were killed on the final day of voting in two different attacks by separatist guerrilla groups, but election officials say overall there was less violence this year than in past elections. TEXT: 272 seats are needed to achieve a majority in India's lower house and the exit polls show Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition winning a narrow majority over the opposition Congress Party and its allies. At stake on Sunday were 118 seats in India's 545-seat lower house of Parliament. Among the candidates on the ballot Sunday were Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress Party, and India's Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee. Mr. Vajpayee's B-J-P-led coalition was defeated in a confidence motion led by Sonia Gandhi six months ago. Rain disrupted voting in the village of Amethi in India's Uttar Pradesh state, where Sonia Gandhi is making one of her two runs for Parliament. Mr. Vajpayee voted in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, where he has achieved huge majorities in the past, but where this year he has had a tougher race. Attacks by separatists in the Indian states of Assam and Tripura and flooding in West Bengal disrupted voting on Sunday. Election officials say, however, the disruptions this year have been minor compared with past elections. India's election commissioner, M-S Gill, says staggering the election over five weeks was necessary because large numbers of paramilitary forces had to be deployed across India's vast expanse. The election, he says, was a success. /// INSERT GILL ACUALITY /// I think broadly we can take some satisfaction, that in a difficult election with limited forces because the Kargil situation (Kashmir), and all the commitments the central police have had to take - if you look across the country - there is a little bit more that has to be done tomorrow or the day after - but broadly things have gone pretty well under control. /// END ACTUALITY /// Mr. Gill says after re-polling is completed in areas where voting was disrupted, final results will be available later this week. NEB/JT/KL 03-Oct-1999 11:27 AM EDT (03-Oct-1999 1527 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .