Voters in two Indian states accounting for about a tenth of the population will cast ballots today in the first major electoral test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he swept to power five months ago.
Opinion polls show Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party as the front-runner to take power from the Congress party in Haryana and Maharashtra, India’s second-most populous state and home to its financial capital of Mumbai. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Results will be known on Oct. 19.
A victory will bolster Modi’s chances of winning parliamentary approval for business-friendly laws, including more foreign investment in insurance. A poor showing may make him reluctant to take tough decisions to revive Asia’s third-largest economy and dim chances of the BJP seizing the upper house, the one legislative body it doesn’t control.
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