Voters from the key state of Uttar Pradesh turned out en masse. Election watchers are keen to see how the residents vote following last August's deadly clashes between Hindus and Muslims displaced 50,000 and left 65 dead.
"Uttar Pradesh is key because it sends 80 MPs to parliament and how different communities vote there, including Hindu Jats and Muslims after the riots, will tell us if they are more concerned about religious violence and identity or about everyday worries like jobs and local infrastructure," said Dr. Mohammed Badrul Alam, head of the political science department at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi.
Thursday marked the third day of India's nine-day general elections. The national elections, which run until May 12, are expected to draw over 800 million voters. The votes will be counted May 16.