Local media say the right-wing ruling party is leading in key states, a boost for Prime Minister Modi months ahead of national elections.
India’s ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in three out of four states in key regional elections, giving Prime Minister Narendra Modi a big boost ahead of general elections in less than six months.
Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Northeast Mizoram voted in the provincial assembly elections last month.
Counting began in four of the five states on Sunday morning, while counting in Mizoram is expected on Monday.
The BJP was leading in all three heartland states sending 62 members to Parliament on Sunday noon (9:30 GMT), according to polling trends shown on television channels. Final results are expected by the end of the day.
The election results in the five states are expected to give an indication of voter mood ahead of May’s national elections, in which Modi is set to seek a third consecutive term.
India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, is in power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
The BJP rules in Madhya Pradesh and its regional ally, the Mizo National Front, is in power in Mizoram.
However, it seemed that the Congress party would win in Telangana, which was ruled by the regional Bharat Rashtra Samithi, then called the Telangana Rashtra Samithi. Hyderabad, the state capital, is a major IT hub along with Bengaluru in the neighboring state of Karnataka. Congress came to power in Karnataka last year.
New Opposition Alliance
Modi and his party remain nationally popular almost a decade later, and polls suggest he will win a third term.
However, a new alliance of 28 opposition parties called Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance or India is challenging the BJP at the national level. It is headed by Congress.
During the campaign, Modi flew across five states to rally support for his party candidates.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also toured the state to woo voters.
Both leaders promised voters grants, loan waivers and job guarantees.
The elections come at a time when India faces several challenges – rising unemployment, attacks and “hate speech” by Hindu nationalists against the country’s minorities, particularly Muslims, and shrinking space for dissent and free media.