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Indian stocks, rupee surge ahead of exit polls

MUMBAI--India's stock market surged to its second consecutive record high and the rupee rallied on expectations exit polls released later Monday will show the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning national elections.

The country's mammoth election wraps up on Monday after the final round of voting, with exit polls from local TV stations expected at 6 p.m.

The polls — surveys of voters as they leave polling stations — are expected to show the right-wing opposition BJP, seen as more investor-friendly than the ruling centre-left Congress party, winning power.

The Bombay Stock Exchange's benchmark index rose 2.51 percent to hit 23,572.88 points, surpassing its previous record of 23,048.49 points struck just on Friday.

The rupee surged to its highest level against the dollar in nearly 10 months, touching 59.51.

The optimism that the BJP, led by Hindu nationalist hardliner and prime ministerial frontrunner Narendra Modi, will vault to power comes despite the fact exit polls have been wrong at past elections.

Official election results will be announced on Friday.

Support for Congress has been undermined by a series of graft scandals, surging inflation and a sharply slowing economy during its decade in power.

Analysts said the BJP and its allies would win the 272 seats needed to form government in the 543-member parliament, and implement structural changes needed to turn around the stuttering economy.

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