Wednesday, September 29, 1999 Published at 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
World: South Asia
Exit poll cheer for BJP
Exit polls point to a victory for the prime minister
An exit poll on Indian television has predicted victory for the country's ruling Hindu nationalist government, as India's lengthy general election draws close to the finish line.
The last of five days of polling - spread over five weekends - is scheduled for Sunday when voting will take place in 10 states involving 122 of a total 543 parliamentary seats.
Meanwhile, repolling in several constituencies which voted at the weekend has taken place.
BJP hopeful of victory
In the latest exit poll broadcast on India's Star Television channel, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies have been placed ahead of the rival Congress alliance.
The Congress and its allies are forecast to win 134 seats.
A previous exit poll released after voting on Saturday suggested the BJP-led alliance would win 235 seats and the Congress alliance 145.
However, the BJP is expected to lose ground in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which is a party stronghold. UP sends 85 MPs to the lower house of parliament.
Floods in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, which have affected nearly three million people and caused millions of dollars worth of damage has also raised fears of a possible delay in voting.
Meanwhile, reports say political parties are scrambling to provide flood relief ahead of the vote. Opposition parties have used the opportunity to blame West Bengal's ruling Communist Government.
"I'd rather not have politics out of the people's misery, but it brings out in a very naked manner the failure of the West Bengal Government," said Krishna Bose, an opposition candidate.
Meanwhile, fresh voting was carried out peacefully in several polling stations across three states where voting was held last Saturday.
The repolling was ordered by the election commission after complaints of voter fraud.
Saturday was the fourth of five days of voting. There was a low to moderate turnout and a few incidents of sporadic violence in the 79 parliamentary constituencies which went to the polls.
Counting of the votes is scheduled for 6 October and should be completed by the end of next week.