(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
KOLKATA, May 19 (Reuters) - Indians lined up to vote amid unprecedented security in the eastern state of West Bengal on Sunday as the final phase of a massive, staggered election got underway to decide whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns for a second term.
Around 900 million Indians are eligible to vote in the seven-phase election, with vote counting to begin on Thursday.
The grueling, 39-day poll began in the wake of aerial clashes and escalated tensions with neighboring Pakistan, which Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used to focus its campaign on national security.
The main opposition Congress party and other regional blocs concentrated on the government's economic mismanagement and inability to create jobs in their attempt to win voters.
However, the campaign turned increasingly personal and vitriolic in the final stages and clashes between rival groups marred polling in West Bengal.
India's election commission suspended campaigning on Wednesday, a day early, after violence in the state's capital, Kolkata.
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