NEW DELHI, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh went to polls Saturday, seen as a referendum for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetization move.
The first of the five-phase assembly polls in India's largest state began at 8 a.m. local time and will continue till 5 p.m.
Results will be announced on March 11, along with those of four other states -- Punjab and Uttarakhand in the north, Goa in the west, Mainpur in the northeast.
This year's election in Uttar Pradesh is witnessing a high-octane contest between the country's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the state's ruling Samajwadi Party and its ally Congress, and the state's main opposition Bahujan Samaj Party.
While the Samajwadi Party hopes to retain power for another five years, the Bharatiya Janata Party is eyeing a comeback in the state after a long gap of 13 years.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had won 71 of the 80 parliamentary seats in the general elections in May 2014, decimating all the other parties in Uttar Pradesh.
Experts say this year's election will be a tough fight between all political contenders, and it will be considered as a major electoral test for Modi's cash ban move.
On Nov. 8 last year, in a sudden televised address to the nation, Modi announced the demonetization of higher denomination currency notes to curb black money and the circulation of fake currency notes among terrorists.