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Uttar Pradesh goes to the polls in election of critical importance to India

Manish Swarup / AP

A woman adjusts the cap of her child as she waits in line to cast her vote in Ayodhya, India, on Feb. 8, 2012.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

A Hindu holy man shows his ink-marked finger after casting his vote in Ayodhya on Feb. 8, 2012.

Residents in India's most populous state began voting Wednesday in a monthlong local election with repercussions for the whole nation, The Associated Press reports. Uttar Pradesh is so large, with 200 million people—enough to make it the world's fifth most populous nation if independent—that voting is spread over seven phases and will last until March 3. Results will be declared March 6.

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