India's six-week-long election ends | Prothom Alo

India's six-week-long election ends | Prothom Alo

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India's marathon election ended on Saturday, six weeks after voting began, with voters in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi braving scorching heat to cast their votes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has long been expected to win a third term after election results are announced on Tuesday, largely due to his image as an aggressive champion of India's majority religion.

Exit polls — though historically unreliable at capturing voter shifts in an election with 968 million eligible voters — are expected on Saturday night to provide some early indication of whether he has succeeded.

Many people in Varanasi, the constituency of the 73-year-old Prime Minister, were eager for this.

“I voted for the growth and development of my country,” local resident Brijesh Taksali told AFP outside the polling station.

“I know only one leader…Narendra Modi. I voted for him.”

Varanasi is the spiritual capital of Hinduism, where devotees from all over the country come to cremate their dead loved ones on the banks of River Ganges.
It is one of the last cities to vote in India's fierce election, and it is where public support for Modi's close fusion between religion and politics is strongest.

Modi has already led the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to two landslide victories in 2014 and 2019, thanks largely to his appeal to the Hindu faithful.

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