06 March 2012, 08:38
India state elections: Counting begins
DELHI. March 6. KAZINFORM Indian election officials are counting votes in five states where crucial assembly elections have been held, Kazinform refers to BBC.
Counting in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa began at 08:00 (02:30 GMT).
Definite trends are expected to emerge quickly and all results are expected to be in by later on Tuesday.
The polls are seen as a litmus test ahead of national elections, due in 2014, and are seen as a test for the Congress party-led central government.
The government's credibility has been eroded in the past few months due to a series of corruption allegations. If the party does well in elections, correspondents say its leadership will be boosted.
The most crucial of the state elections has been in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
If it were a separate country, the state would be the fifth-largest in the world by population, with more than 200 million people.
The state is governed by Chief Minister Mayawati, a low-caste Dalit from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty have campaigned hard in the state in an effort to revive the Congress party's presence.
Some polls have suggested that Congress could increase its vote and may hope to ally with the other strong regional force, the Samajwadi Party, to oppose Ms Mayawati.
Mr Gandhi, 41, is widely seen as a prime minister-in-waiting and analysts say if the Congress does well in Uttar Pradesh, the clamour from within the party that he replace Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will increase.
The state, one of India's least-developed, sends the largest number of representatives to parliament and has provided the country with eight prime ministers since independence in 1947.
Exit polls over the weekend suggested that the regional Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav will win the largest number of seats in the state, but perhaps not enough to secure a majority.
The polls indicated Congress will have a clear edge in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Manipur.
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