Time.com – (NEW DELHI) — Polls opened Thursday in the first phase of India’s general elections, seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party.
A festive spirit prevailed as men and women in colourful clothes made their way to heavily guarded voting stations in large numbers.
In the world’s largest democratic exercise, voters in 18 Indian states and two Union Territories are casting ballots on Thursday, the first day of a seven-phase election staggered over six weeks in the country of 1.3 billion people.
Modi supporters say the tea seller’s son from Gujarat state has improved the nation’s standing. But critics say his party’s Hindu nationalism has aggravated religious tensions in India.