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Vote counting starts in 5 key Indian state polls
Vote counting begins in 5 Indian state elections with national implications
By The Associated Press

LUCKNOW, India (AP) ' Election officials across five Indian states have begun counting votes in crucial provincial elections that are being seen as a test of strength for the country's ruling Congress party.

The most critical results Tuesday are expected from the country's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. Rahul Gandhi, touted as Congress' next prime ministerial candidate, has campaigned there for months.

Poor numbers could seriously handicap the national government in the last two years of its term and be an indicator of how the party will fare in the next federal polls.

The other states that will elect new governments are northern Punjab and Uttarakhand, the insurgency-wracked northeastern state of Manipur, and coastal Goa state.

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