India's five-week long voting process drew to a close on Monday as the last batch of the country's 814 million voters cast their votes, with the final outcome due Friday.
Four major exit polls on Monday projected an overwhelming victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Narendra Modi, which would mark the party's ascent to power for the first time in a decade.
Anticipation of a BJP win has fueled euphoria in Indian stocks as they chalk up fresh record highs in recent months. Modi is widely seen as more business friendly than the ruling Congress party and investors are betting that he will revitalize the country's infrastructure and revive economic growth.
"There are two key watch factors for us. First, it is the ease of coalition formation and the amount of political capital and leverage that Modi can garner from this. Second, will be the political will to sweep aside populism in favor of solid reforms," said Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank.
As markets count down to Friday, click to see images from the world's largest exercise in democracy.
—By CNBC's Nyshka Chandran. Updated May 15, 2014.
Voting began on April 7 in six constituencies in the northeastern states of Assam and Tripura.
Here, a voter has her finger inked prior to casting her ballot at a polling station.
Priests perform a religious ritual in the holy city of Varanasi as residents voted in the ninth and final phase of the general election on Monday.
A groom along with his family members showing their voting marks in the central city of Bhopal.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Uttar Pradesh.
Despite the 63-year-old's popularity, he remains a controversial figure due to his reputation as a Hindu extremist. He remains banned from travelling to the U.S. on reports of his failure to stop a series of mass attacks on Muslims during riots in 2002.
Workers wearing Narendra Modi masks make traditional Indian sweets to celebrate the BJP's expected victory.
Tens of thousands crowded the streets of downtown Varanasi as they expressed their support for Narendra Modi during a rally.
Rahul Gandhi, the frontrunner of the ruling Congress party.
Opinion polls have revealed an increase in voter resentment against the Congress party over rising inflation and a sharp economic slowdown during its two terms since 2004.
In an interview to local media on Saturday, Gandhi said that he was confident that his party would take the majority of seats in the lower house of parliament.
The Aam Adami Party, aka Common Man Party, is seen as the wild card during the general election. Led by Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, the party has rapidly picked up supporters on its promise to fight corruption.
The symbol of the party is a broom, symbolizing the dignity of labor and the need to clean up the country's graft-laden democracy.
In a country of 814 million voters, reports of ethnic and religious tensions unsurprisingly formed the backdrop of the election process.
Clashes between BJP and Congress workers were seen all over the country, leaving scores of people injured. Here, paramilitary forces marched down streets following scuffles in the northern city of Amritsar.
The death toll within the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTADs) in the remote state of Assam has risen to over 40 following days of election-fueled violence by a tribal separatist group.
Militants reportedly belonging to the Bodo tribe attacked Muslim villagers in the northeastern region as revenge for voting against the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF) candidate.
The Bodos consider districts in the BTAD region theirs, despite forming a minority of the population.
Voting in Indian-controlled Kashmir was sparse with some areas even recording zero turnouts as the long-standing issue of Kashmiri independence trumped the general election.
Pro-independence groups' calls to boycott the polls were on the rise even before voting began.
Threats to stay away from polling stations by rebels who are fighting Indian soldiers for independence or for a union with Pakistan was also a key reason for low turnout.