MUMBAI – Indian voters cast their final ballots in the country’s marathon elections on Wednesday, with analysts predicting a shaky coalition government that might struggle to survive a full term.
Polling was held across seven states for the fifth and final phase of voting in the world’s largest democratic exercise, which began on April 16.
The first exit polls — banned during the staggered voting process — were expected hours after polling closes, although the official result will not be announced by the Election Commission until n Saturday.
Neither the ruling alliance led by the Congress party nor the main opposition bloc headed by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seen as capable of securing an absolute majority.
Saturday’s results are therefore expected to trigger a frantic round of political horse-trading as the two main blocs scrabble for new partners among a multitude of regional parties — all with their own local agendas.