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Indians vote in final phase of grueling national election

Published
An Indian displays indelible ink mark on his index finger after casting his vote in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

KOLKATA, India (AP) — Indians voted Sunday in the seventh and final phase of a grueling national election that lasted more than five weeks, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeks to govern for another five years.

The election is seen as a referendum on Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP's main opposition is the Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has produced three prime ministers.

Vote counting begins on Thursday, and the election result will likely be known the same day.

The voting Sunday covered Modi's constituency of Varanasi, a holy Hindu city where he was elected in 2014 with an impressive margin of over 200,000 votes. Modi spent Saturday night at Kedarnath, a temple of the Hindu god Shiva nestled in the Himalayas in northern India.

The final election round included 59 constituencies in eight states. Up for grabs were 13 seats in Punjab and an equal number in Uttar Pradesh, eight each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, four in Himachal Pradesh and three in Jharkhand and Chandigarh.

In Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, voters lined up outside polling stations early Sunday morning to avoid the scorching heat, with temperatures reaching up to 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit). Armed security officials stood guard in and outside the centers amid fear of violence.

While the election, which began April 11, was largely peaceful, West Bengal, located in eastern India, was an exception. Modi is challenged there by the state's chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, who heads the more inclusive Trinamool Congress party and is eyeing a chance to go to New Delhi as the opposition's candidate for prime minister.

Modi visited West Bengal 17 times in an effort to make inroads with his Hindu nationalist agenda, provoking sporadic violence and prompting the Election Commission to cut off campaigning there.

On Sunday, Nirmala Sitharaman, a BJP leader and the country's defense minister, accused Banerjee's supporters of attacking her party members and preventing them from voting at several places in six of the nine constituencies in West Bengal. She did not provide details.

Prodeep Chakrabarty, a retired teacher in Kolkata, said Modi's BJP was desperate to win some seats against Banerjee's influential regional party.

"People are divided for many reasons. We have to wait for a final outcome to see who people are voting for. Things are not predictable like before," he said.

Minorities in India, especially Muslims, who comprise about 14 percent of the country's 1.3 billion people, criticize Modi for his Hindu nationalist agenda. Modi's party backed a bill that would make it easier to deport millions of Bangladeshis who have migrated to India since Bangladesh's independence in 1971. The bill, however, eases a path to citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Parsees and Jains — non-Muslims — who came from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan over decades.

Voters were also up early Sunday in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh state, where election workers arranged for drinking water, shade and fans to cool them down.

"I straightaway came from my morning walk to cast my vote and was surprised to see enthusiasm among the voters," said Ramesh Kumar Singh, who was among the first to vote. "There were long queues of people waiting patiently to cast their votes, which is a good sign for democracy."

During the election campaign, Modi played up the threat of Pakistan, India's Muslim-majority neighbor and archrival, especially after the suicide bombing of a paramilitary convoy in Kashmir on Feb. 14 that killed 40 Indian soldiers.

Congress and other opposition parties have challenged Modi over a high unemployment rate of 6.1% and farmers' distress aggravated by low crop prices.

Some of Modi's boldest policy steps, such as the demonetization of high currency notes to curb black-market money, proved to be economically damaging. A haphazard implementation of "one nation, one tax" — a goods and services tax — also hit small and medium businesses.

Voter turnout in the first six rounds was approximately 66%, the Election Commission said, up from 58% in the last national vote in 2014.

Pre-election media polls indicate that no party is likely to win anything close to a majority in Parliament, which has 543 seats. The BJP, which won a majority of 282 seats in 2014, may need some regional parties as allies to stay in power.

A Congress-led government would require a major electoral upset.

___

Sharma reported from New Delhi. Associated Press writer Biswajeet Banerjee in Lucknow, India, contributed to this report.

Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian women stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Nuns of Missionaries of Charity line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during last phase of general elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
A woman displays indelible ink mark on her finger after casting her vote at a polling station, in Kachanar on the outskirts of in Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Kachanar on the outskirts of  Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Kachanar on the outskirts of in Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Kachanar on the outskirts of in Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
A polling official, left waits for confirmation of successful polling as an Indian man votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections in Dharmsala, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Sunday's polling wraps up a 6-week-long long, grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian women wait to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Election officers check the identity of voters before allowing them to cast their votes during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Election officers check the identity of voters before allowing them to cast their votes during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian women wait to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian women wait to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
A woman displays indelible ink mark on her finger after casting her vote at a polling station, in Kachanar on the outskirts of in Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
A woman displays indelible ink mark on her finger after casting her vote at a polling station, in Kachanar on the outskirts of in Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Nuns of Missionaries of Charity line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during last phase of general elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Nuns of Missionaries of Charity line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during last phase of general elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Indians wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Kachanar on the outskirts of in Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Kachanar on the outskirts of in Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian women get their selfie taken at a selfie point outside a polling station  during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian women get their selfie taken at a selfie point outside a polling station during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian Muslim women and nuns of Missionaries of Charity line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during last phase of general elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Indian Muslim women and nuns of Missionaries of Charity line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during last phase of general elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Indians wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Kachanar on the outskirts of  Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Kachanar on the outskirts of Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
An Indian displays indelible ink mark on his index finger after casting his vote in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
An Indian displays indelible ink mark on his index finger after casting his vote in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
A polling officer puts indelible ink mark on the index finger of an women voter at a polling station, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
A polling officer puts indelible ink mark on the index finger of an women voter at a polling station, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
People line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
People line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Election officers check the identity of voters before allowing them to cast their votes during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Election officers check the identity of voters before allowing them to cast their votes during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian women stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian women stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian woman wait to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Indian woman wait to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
People wait to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
People wait to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
A woman holds her newly born baby while displaying indelible ink mark on her finger after casting her vote during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
A woman holds her newly born baby while displaying indelible ink mark on her finger after casting her vote during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
An elderly woman displays indelible ink mark on her finger after casting her vote during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
An elderly woman displays indelible ink mark on her finger after casting her vote during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Election officers check the identity of voters before allowing them to cast their votes during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Election officers check the identity of voters before allowing them to cast their votes during the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian Muslim women leave after casting their votes at a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Indian Muslim women leave after casting their votes at a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Kachanar on the outskirts of in Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Kachanar on the outskirts of in Varanasi, India Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, 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. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
An Indian paramilitary soldier checks the identity of voters before allowing them to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
An Indian paramilitary soldier checks the identity of voters before allowing them to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
People line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
People line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard as people line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard as people line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the final phase of national elections in Kolkata , India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Indians voted in the seventh and final phase of national elections Sunday, wrapping up a 6-week-long grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indians stand in queues to cast their votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections, on the outskirts of Varanasi, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. 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. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
A polling official, left waits for confirmation of successful polling as an Indian man votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections in Dharmsala, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Sunday's polling wraps up a 6-week-long long, grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
A polling official, left waits for confirmation of successful polling as an Indian man votes in the seventh and final phase of national elections in Dharmsala, India, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Sunday's polling wraps up a 6-week-long long, grueling campaign season with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party seeking reelection for another five years. Counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)