With a population nearly Brazil's size, northern Uttar Pradesh sends 80 of the 543 lawmakers to the country's parliament, the highest among all other states, making it a game-changer turf.
UTTAR PRADESH, India — A three-party alliance of regional parties threatens the momentum of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by strongman Narendra Modi in Uttar Pradesh (UP), a state with a population of at least 200 million.
The political importance of this state is immense – so much so that since 1947, of 15 prime ministers, nine have come from UP with current Prime Minister Narendra Modi again contesting from the state’s Varanasi district, a seat he won in 2014.
UP state has always been a communal hotspot, and a gauge of India’s political situation.
It has a high percentage of Muslims, which has remained part of the political chessboard with religion, caste, sect and language playing key role in determining the success of politicians.
While the BJP won a landslide in 2014, bagging over 70 seats from UP alone, its momentum in this election is checked by a regional alliance of three political parties which will likely lead to a tight race.
TRT World reports some highlights from the first polling day in the state.