Modi votes as mammoth Indian elections reach half-way mark

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi cast his ballot Tuesday as India's multiphase general election hit the half-way mark after the Hindu nationalist leader mounted an increasingly shrill election campaign, ramping up polarising rhetoric in incendiary speeches that have targeted the Muslim minority.

The world's most populous nation began voting on April 19 in a seven-phase election in which nearly one billion people are eligible to vote, with ballots set to be counted on June 4.

Read moreIn figures: India’s mammoth elections

Modi is seeking a rare, third straight term in a vote which pits his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against an alliance of more than two dozen opposition parties. Surveys suggest he will win a comfortable majority.

Modi cast his ballot in the Gandhinagar constituency where his number two, Home Minister Amit Shah, is the BJP candidate.

He urged citizens to actively participate in the "festival of democracy", while taking care of their health as summer temperatures continued to rise in many parts of the country.

Clad in saffron and white, he was surrounded by hundreds of supporters and party members, signing autographs and talking to children on the way to the polling station.

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(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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