NEW DELHI (AP) — Voters in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat are casting ballots in crucial local elections. The vote is seen as a barometer of his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s popularity ahead of a general election in 2024. Thursday’s polls are the first of two phases of voting in the western state. A second round of voting will take place Monday. Votes will be counted Dec. 8. Most pre-election surveys have predicted Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party to emerge victorious. India’s main opposition Congress party is hoping to revive its fortunes and regain some popularity in the state. But the Aam Aadmi Party that won in northern Punjab state earlier this year poses a challenge to Modi’s party.