Queues as Bihar goes to polls in crucial election


Thousands of people have queued up at polling stations in India's Bihar state for elections that are being seen as a test of PM Narendra Modi's popularity.

The BJP led by Mr Modi is battling a "grand" coalition of local parties, led by two former Bihar chief ministers - Nitish Kumar and Laloo Prasad Yadav.

More than 66 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots in 243 seats between Monday and 5 November.

Votes for the five-phase poll will be counted on 8 November.

Opinion polls are predicting a closely fought election.

Security is tight in nearly 13,000 polling stations in 49 constituencies on Monday. A total of 583 candidates are in the fray.

"Urging all those voting today in Bihar to vote in large numbers. I particularly urge my young friends to cast their vote," Mr Modi tweeted on Monday morning.

In the absence of a popular local leader, Mr Modi has led the campaign for his party and has addressed a number of well-attended campaign meetings.

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