PATNA, India – 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.