2 Indian states hold elections Modi's party expected to win

Former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, left, with his wife Anjali pose for media after casting their votes in Mumbai, India, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. Voting is underway in two Indian states of Maharashtra in the west and Haryana in the north where the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed by prime minister Narendra Modi is trying to win a second consecutive term. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

Voters are casting ballots in 2 Indian states where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party is seeking a second consecutive term

NEW DELHI — Voters cast ballots Monday in two Indian states where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party is seeking a second consecutive term.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is expected to win the elections in Maharashtra in the west and Haryana in the north after its dominant victory in national elections earlier this year.

Modi took to Twitter to urge voters to participate in large numbers and exercise their right to vote and "enrich the festival of democracy."

The BJP's high-voltage election campaigning aggressively raised the nationalism plank by focusing on the government's scrapping of disputed Kashmir's special status in early August and it targeted the opposition on national security and corruption.

In Maharashtra, where the BJP and Shiv Sena coalition is expected to retain power according to opinion polls, the BJP has pledged to work towards making the state drought-free.

Opinion surveys predicted a BJP romp in Harayana too, where its main opposition, the Congress party, could face a near decimation. Congress, however, is hoping to recover from its national election rout and make a comeback in the state.

In both states, opposition campaigns were lackluster due to infighting and desertions in the run-up to the vote.

Votes will be counted on Oct. 24.

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