Indians are voting in the seventh and final stages of the national election and are completing a six-week campaign season with the Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking re-election for another five years.
Almost 100 million people are eligible to vote on Sunday in 59 constituencies in seven states – including the politically critical Uttar Pradesh in the north and West Bengal in the east.
Sunday's election also refers to Modi's constituency in Varanasi, a temple city where he was elected in 2014. He spent the Saturday night in Kedarnath, a temple of the Hindu god Shiva in the Himalayas in northern India.
The counting of votes is scheduled for May 23 referendum on the five-year rule of Modi. He has taken a nationalist stance in trying to win votes from the country's Hindu majority by introducing a tough stance against Pakistan, India's neighbor and arch rival with a Muslim majority.
Modi has tackled the threat to Pakistan, especially after the suicide bombing of A paramilitary convoy that killed 40 Indian soldiers on 1
Al Jazeera's Sohail Rahman reported from Varanasi that while the BJP saw national security as the main survey agenda, the opposition tried to defend modes by focusing on development issues.  "The discourse has certainly changed after the Pulwama attacks and national security became a topic, but the people and experts I've talked to have realized that there are no concrete issues like health, education, sanitation and infrastructure to which the opposition targeted the government. "
" The reigning BJP government has been very reluctant to talk about what it has accomplished in the past five years, "he said.  5] Congress and other opposition parties are calling for modi due to a high unemployment rate of 6.1 percent and farmers' plight exacerbated by low crop prices.
Some of Modi's boldest political moves, such as the demonstration of high money bills to curb black money and bring large numbers of people into the tax network, proved economically harmful.
The arbitrary introduction of the "One Nation, One Tax" – the goods and services tax – hit even small and medium-sized enterprises.  According to the electoral commission, voter turnout in the first six rounds was about 66 percent, up from 58 percent at the last national ballot in 2014.
The election took place in a charged atmosphere as Modis BJP sought a second term in office They are pushing strategies that some claim have exacerbated religious tensions and undermined multiculturalism.
The campaign was hampered by allegations and insults, as well as unprecedented use of social media.
|Mamata B anerjee, Supreme Minister of the State of West Bengal and Chairman of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), at a roadshow before the final phase of the parliamentary elections in Kolkata [Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters]|
Where the BJP tries, the Trinamool Congress, a powerful regional party which is currently governing the state to wrest the seats.
In a drastic and unprecedented campaign, the electoral commission on Thursday after days of clashes has prematurely ceased the election campaign in West Bengal in the final phase of the election.
Pre-election polls show that no 543-seat party near a majority in parliament should win anything. The BJP, which won the majority of 282 seats in 2014, may need some regional parties as allies to stay in power.