AP PHOTOS: The world’s largest election concludes in India

NEW DELHI (AP) — Votes will be counted Tuesday in India’s 6-week-long election. The world’s largest election could also be one of its most consequential. Voters are choosing 543 members for the lower house of Parliament in the election that pits Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an avowed Hindu nationalist, against a broad alliance of opposition parties that are struggling to play catch up.

Votes were cast in seven phases across multiple states in staggered polling that enabled the movement of election officials and voting machines as well as tens of thousands of troops to prevent violence. Candidates crisscrossed the country, poll workers hiked to remote villages, and voters lined up for hours in sweltering heat.

Millions of Indians waited anxiously as the election authority prepared to count the votes.

Supporters of Modi and his party were already in a celebratory mood with exit polls predicting a massive win and a third term as India’s leader.

India’s Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said 642 million voters exercising their right in India was a world record.

“It’s a miracle,” Kumar said.

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