Top Asian News 3:59 a.m. GMT

India begins counting votes in marathon election expected to bring Prime Minister Modi a third term

NEW DELHI (AP) — India began counting more than 640 million votes Tuesday in the world’s largest democratic exercise, which was widely expected to return Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a third term after a decade in power. The 6-week election was seen as a referendum on Modi. If the 73-year-old wins, it will only be the second time an Indian leader has retained power for a third term after Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister. Exit polls on Saturday by major television channels projected a comfortable win for Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies over a broad opposition alliance led by the Congress party and its main campaign leader, Rahul Gandhi.