Indians are voting in the third phase of the general elections with campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party and the opposition marred by bitter accusations and acrimony.

The voting for 117 parliamentary seats in 13 states and two Union Territories on Tuesday means polls are half done for 543 seats in the lower house of Parliament. The voting over seven phases ends May 19, with counting scheduled for May 23.

The election is seen as a referendum on Modi’s five-year rule. He has adopted a nationalist pitch trying to win the majority Hindu votes by projecting a tough stance against Islamic neighbor Pakistan.

Indian election officials with polling materials board on a tractor after arriving at a river island in the River Brahmaputra in Kamrup district, west of Gauhati, Assam, India, Monday, April 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
Indian election officials with polling materials board on a tractor after arriving at a river island in the River Brahmaputra in Kamrup district, west of Gauhati, Assam, India, Monday, April 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

The opposition is challenging him for a high unemployment rate of 6.1% and farmers’ distress aggravated by low crop prices.

Indian election officials with polling materials walk to board a country boat to reach a polling center in a remote river island in the River Brahmaputra in Kamrup district, west of Gauhati, Assam, India, Monday, April 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
Indian election officials with polling materials walk to board a country boat to reach a polling center in a remote river island in the River Brahmaputra in Kamrup district, west of Gauhati, Assam, India, Monday, April 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)