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India's Karnataka state votes in 'do or die' battle for Modi rivals

BJP banks on prime minister's star power but polls give Congress party edge

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi throws flowers while campaigning for his Bharatiya Janata Party in Bengaluru on May 7, ahead of the Karnataka state election.   © AP

NEW DELHI -- The southern Indian state of Karnataka is going to the polls on Wednesday, in what analysts predict will be a close fight ahead of a slew of other state votes and a general election by mid-2024.

Karnataka, home to about 70 million people, is the only one among five southern states currently governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party. But historical trends and several pre-election surveys suggest that the opposition Indian National Congress party has an edge.

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