Sensex closes more than 2% lower as exit polls cast gloom
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares marked their worst close in four weeks on Monday after exit polls in state elections showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party struggling just months ahead of a national vote, while fears of slowing global growth dented sentiment.

India counts votes on Tuesday from five states that chose new assemblies over the past month, but exit polls show Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could lose the three most important races, while it has little presence in two smaller states dominated by regional parties.

The loss would be the biggest for Modi's Hindu nationalists since they swept to power in 2014 general elections, followed by wins over the past four years in 22 of India's 29 states, on promises of thousands of jobs and a doubling in farm income.

The broader Nifty closed 1.92 percent lower at 10,488.45, while the benchmark BSE Sensex ended down 2 percent at 34,959.72.

Oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd led the declines, closing 3.8 percent lower at its worst level since Nov. 12.

Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd was the top percentage loser, ending down 6.4 percent after the private-sector lender said it moved court against the RBI's decision to disregard the issue of preference shares as a method to reduce promoter stake.

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