World

Elections in eastern Indian state of Bihar seen as a referendum for PM Modi's popularity

  • Indian women voters stand in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station during the first of the five phase voting for state legislative assembly at Samastipur district, in India’s eastern state Bihar, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of people lined up at polling stations in the east Indian state of Bihar on Monday for elections being seen as a referendum of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity. (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)

    Indian women voters stand in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station during the first of the five phase voting for state legislative assembly at Samastipur district, in India’s eastern state Bihar, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of people lined up at polling stations in the east Indian state of Bihar on Monday for elections being seen as a referendum of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity. (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Indian polling official marks the finger of a woman voter with indelible ink during the first of the five phase voting for state legislative assembly at Samastipur district, in India’s eastern state Bihar, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of people lined up at polling stations in the east Indian state of Bihar on Monday for elections being seen as a referendum of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity. (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)

    An Indian polling official marks the finger of a woman voter with indelible ink during the first of the five phase voting for state legislative assembly at Samastipur district, in India’s eastern state Bihar, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of people lined up at polling stations in the east Indian state of Bihar on Monday for elections being seen as a referendum of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity. (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Indian polling official helps a woman put her thumb imprint before proceeding to cast her vote at a polling station at Samastipur district, in India’s eastern state Bihar, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of people lined up at polling stations in the east Indian state of Bihar on Monday for elections being seen as a referendum of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity. (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)

    An Indian polling official helps a woman put her thumb imprint before proceeding to cast her vote at a polling station at Samastipur district, in India’s eastern state Bihar, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of people lined up at polling stations in the east Indian state of Bihar on Monday for elections being seen as a referendum of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity. (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)  (The Associated Press)

Hundreds of thousands of people have lined up at polling stations in the east Indian state of Bihar for elections that are seen as a referendum of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity.

The elections are being held Monday in 49 constituencies in the first of five phases of voting for the state's legislative assembly.

Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party is facing a "grand coalition" of two former chief ministers, including the incumbent, Nitish Kumar.

The outcome in Bihar is being seen as a test for Modi, who addressed several election rallies across the state. Analysts see a victory for Modi's party as approval of its attempts to push its brand of Hindu right-wing politics.

The last phase of voting is Nov. 5. Results will be announced Nov. 8.