Leaders of India's two main political parties held separate strategy meetings Thursday to map out their plans for attracting coalition partners.
The ruling Congress-led alliance and the opposition coalition headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party are each predicting that they will lead the next government.
A number of exit polls from the month-long elections show the Congress-led alliance with a slim lead over the opposition. But the polls also show that neither grouping will have enough seats for a parliamentary majority. Exit polls in India are notoriously unreliable.
The final results of the elections are expected on Saturday. Both sides likely will need to win new partners from a host of regional parties to get enough seats for a ruling coalition.
With 714 million eligible voters, the elections were the world's largest exercise in democracy. India held the elections in phases to ensure there were adequate staff and security forces to maintain order.
Separatists in Indian-controlled Kashmir protested the elections, which
they said legitimized New Delhi's rule of the Muslim-majority Himalayan