Indian stocks, rupee rally as Modi vote win predicted

Final round of voting underway in India's marathon elections

Vote counting is expected to begin on 23 May and the results are expected to be announced the same day.

Even though Modi's party won an unprecedented majority in the 2014 elections, numerous voters see these elections as a referendum to decide the fate of Mr Modi.

The Congress pary led by Rahul Gandhi, the fourth generation scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that ruled India for decades following independence, focused on Modi's failure to deliver on the promises he made to transform the economy and turn India into a manufacturing hub.

Modi's National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is projected to win anything between 339-365 seats in the 545-member lower house of parliament with the Congress party-led opposition alliance at a distant 77 to 108, India Today Axis exit poll showed.

State BJP chief B.S. Yeddyurappa has been waiting for this opportunity ever since he lost his chief ministerial seat despite BJP being the single-largest party in the assembly polls in 2018.

Gandhi questioned the way the election was conducted by the autonomous Election Commission, saying the election schedule was manipulated to help Modi's party.

Modi's government has fallen short on creating jobs for the million Indians entering the labour market every month, while the shock introduction of a sudden ban on high-denomination cash in 2016 disrupted business and Indian banks are struggling with huge bad debts. "Not anymore", Gandhi tweeted Sunday evening, without giving any details.

The voting also covers Modi's constituency of Varanasi, a holy Hindu city where he was elected in 2014 with an impressive margin of over 200,000 votes.

The last round of election includes 59 constituencies in eight states.

"They have shown BJP losing 40 to 45 seats in Uttar Pradesh".

In Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, voters lined up outside polling stations in the early morning to avoid scorching heat, with temperatures reaching up to 38C (100.4F). Armed security officials stood guard in and outside the centers amid fear of violence.

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Fake news and doctored images have abounded, including of Gandhi and Modi having lunch with Imran Khan, prime minister of arch rival Pakistan, or of a drunk Priyanka Gandhi, a politician and the sister of Rahul.

The 68-year-old leader went to scores of rallies across the country to fire up his Hindu base and turn the campaign into a debate on national security following the Balakot airstrikes.

Indians are voting in the seventh and final phase of national elections, wrapping up a 6-week-long long, grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years.

Banerjee denied the accusation and said Modi's government used security forces to intimidate her party's supporters.

The exit poll gives around 60 seats for BJP in Uttar Pradesh limiting Congress to two seats and the remaining going to SP-BSP alliance.

"People are divided for many reasons".

Hostilities spilt over again on the final day of voting. "Things are not predictable like before", he said.

Minorities in India, especially Muslims, who comprise about 14% of India's 1.3 billion people, criticise Modi for his Hindu nationalist agenda.

Lots of it has been spent on social media, with the parties using armies of "cyber warriors" to bombard India's hundreds of millions of Facebook and WhatsApp users with messages.

The results for these elections will also be released on 23 May.


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