Pakistan seems to have allied with Modi: Congress

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Vote-counting is set for May 23. The only assessment that matters now is the one delivered by India's 900 million voters.

As the country of 1.3 billion people embarks on its huge vote, the Election Commission said NaMo TV, which is sponsored by Modi's right-wing party, had to submit all of its content for approval.

In Kashmir, which is in the grip of an insurrection that took India to the verge of war with neighbouring Pakistan less than two months ago, one teenager was killed in clashes with security forces.

And Modi's critics say his party's Hindu nationalism has aggravated religious tensions and violence against Muslims and other minorities in constitutionally secular India.

Congress, led by Mr Rahul Gandhi, said the flattering portrayal of Mr Modi would give an unfair advantage to his Hindu nationalist BJP.

Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi dominated the nation for approximately a half of a century after India gained independence in 1947 from Britain. His sister, Priyanka Gandhi, formally joined politics in January. Modi's 2014 victory marked the first time in three decades that a single party won a majority of seats in Parliament; polling data suggests that won't happen this time, so a coalition government is a more likely outcome.

"Dragging the armed forces into political crossfire, asking for votes and doing cheap politics [using the forces]. only Narendra Modi and Amit Shah could have done this", Mr. Singhvi said.

Polling stations in northeastern states like Arunachal Pradesh bordering China were the first to open, followed by parts of Bihar in the north - where women in multicolored saris queued - and Jammu and Kashmir in the Himalayas.

Chhattisgarh is among sensitive states where polling is staggered over several weeks so security and administrative staff can be moved around. On Tuesday a state lawmaker was killed in a suspected rebel attack.

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The home ministry dismissed the fears, saying the "green light" was found to be a mobile phone used by a Congress party photographer.

Thousands of parties and candidates are running for office in the seven separate days of voting in 543 constituencies up to May 19.

An average of four opinion polls showed the BJP-alliance on course to win 273 of the 545 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, a much reduced majority from the more than 330 seats it scored at the last election.

"I support the prime minister's policies, especially his foreign policy", Sachin Tyagi, 38, a mobile phone shop owner, told Reuters near a polling station in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Some analysts believe that a new government headed by Modi would come down even harder on Pakistan than the previous dispensation that was also led by Modi.

Hundreds of millions of Indians have escaped poverty since the turn of the millennium but huge challenges remain.

Amid a large section of the population, Modi has established his clout to regain his strength from further emasculation, and to demonstrate himself as a strong savior for Hindus and of Hindutva in India.

Mr Modi's government has been accused of hiding uncomfortable jobs data. It also promises an income subsidy application for farmers and for the poorest families.

The first item in the opposition Congress party's election manifesto describes a plan for creating jobs. Forty CRPF personnel had lost their lives in the attack that was claimed responsibility by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror group. It seems that Pakistan has now officially allied with Modi.