The polls are taking place in seven stages and will end on May 19. The third phase is the largest and be closely watched for the governing BJP's performance in Modi's home state Gujrat, although the prime minister is not on the ticket.
Pakistan's foreign office says the US State Department's designation of Syed Salahuddin, the head of the Hizbul Mujahideen rebel group based in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" is "unjustified."
The soldiers were guarding road workers in the rebel bastion Sukma district of Chhattisgarh state when they came under heavy fire resulting in the death of two dozen soldiers, officials say. Local media revised the death toll to 26.
John B Judis, an American political analyst, suggests that populism poses no threat to electoral politics but rather it expands democracy.
Over 90 percent of transactions in India are conducted in cash and the country's poorest have no access to banking. Many people are unable to buy food and daily essentials due to the lack of new notes in circulation.
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