More than half of the 65 million eligible voters in India's western industrial state of Maharashtra have cast their ballots to choose a new state assembly. The assembly has 288 seats and the main fight was between a Congress party-led coalition and the Hindu nationalists of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena alliance.

Reports from the state capital Mumbai say the race was too close to predict a winner.

A victory for the Hindu nationalists would boost the morale of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is struggling to overcome its defeat in May's national elections. India also held by-elections for four seats of its national parliament and 39 vacant seats in legislatures in 16 states on Wednesday. Poll results will not be known until Saturday.