Vote counting underway in India national election

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Indian workers prepare sweets anticipating election victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Official results are expected on Friday, but exit polls by at least six major Indian TV stations show the BJP is likely to win enough seats to form a coalition government. (AP Photo /Manish Swarup)

Indian workers prepare sweets anticipating election victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Official results are expected on Friday, but exit polls by at least six major Indian TV stations show the BJP is likely to win enough seats to form a coalition government. (AP Photo /Manish Swarup)

Indians walk past a bus with a photograph of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as the same is prepared for celebrations anticipating his election victory in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Official results are expected on Friday, but exit polls by at least six major Indian TV stations show the BJP is likely to win enough seats to form a coalition government. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

An Indian man drinks tea at a wayside tea stall in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 15, 2014. The results of India’s general elections, held in stages across the country over a period of nearly six weeks are due Friday. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

A supporter carries a bag with a photograph of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as they gather at a Hindu temple to pray for his election victory in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Official results are expected on Friday, but exit polls by at least six major Indian TV stations show the BJP is likely to win enough seats to form a coalition government. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Supporters carry cut out photographs of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as they gather at a Hindu temple to pray for his election victory in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Official results are expected on Friday, but exit polls by at least six major Indian TV stations show the BJP is likely to win enough seats to form a coalition government. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

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NEW DELHI (AP) — Officials began counting votes Friday following India’s massive national election, with exit polls predicting a victory for the country’s pro-business, Hindu nationalist opposition.

The Election Commission was expected to announce the results later in the day.

There was a record turnout in this year’s election, with 66.38 percent of India’s 814 million eligible voters casting ballots during the six-week contest, which was held in stages across the country. Turnout in the 2009 elections was 58.13 percent.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and its candidate for prime minister, Narendra Modi, campaigned on promises of a revival in economic growth. There is widespread dissatisfaction with the ruling Congress party, which has been in power for a decade

The BJP’s slick and well-financed campaign also promised better governance. The Congress-led ruling alliance has been plagued by repeated corruption scandals, and the Congress party’s 43-year-old leader, Rahul Gandhi, appeared to have failed to inspire public confidence.

Exit polls by at least six major Indian TV stations predicted a BJP-led coalition would win between 249 and 289 seats in the 543-seat Lok Sabha, or lower house of Parliament.

A party or coalition needs at least 272 seats to form a government.

Associated Press

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