04/10/2014 02:51 pm ET

This Is What Democracy Looks Like In A Country Of 1.2 Billion (PHOTOS)

Millions of Indians headed to the polls in the third phase of the country's national elections, a crucial step in choosing the next government.

Nearly 110 million people were eligible to vote on Thursday, many of them in the country's heartland states where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main Hindu opposition party, traditionally scores big.

India's multi-phase vote runs until May 12. According to the Associated Press, the BJP appears to be ahead of the ruling Congress party.

Take a look at the stunning photos below for a glimpse of what democracy looks like in a country of 1.2 billion. Hint: It's beautiful.

India Votes