The people’s verdict on who rules the world’s largest democracy for the next five years will be out soon as the counting of votes begins today for the general elections, held after the most polarised campaign the country has seen.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi – whose BJP became the first party to gain a majority on its own in three decades – seeks a second term in power in face of a challenge from a re-energised Congress under Rahul Gandhi and 21 other opposition parties.
Exit polls have predicted that the BJP would retain power with a comfortable majority.
The opposition has pointed out that the exit polls often get it wrong.
Elections were held on 542 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats and a party or alliance needs 272 seats to form the government.
The counting will begin at 8 am.