MUMBAI (AFP) - Millions of voters joined the third wave of Indias month-long elections Thursday, with security ramped up as the staggered polls moved to the volatile Kashmir Valley and the financial capital Mumbai. Indian police and paramilitary forces imposed a lockdown on Kashmirs summer capital Srinagar after two days of violent anti-poll protests and placed key separatist leaders under house arrest. Nearly 145 million people are eligible to vote in phrase three of the five-stage national ballot, which is widely expected to result in a shaky coalition government that will have to steer the country through an economic slump. The third round saw Indias two main parties, the ruling Congress and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), go head to head in a number of key states which will have a major bearing on the national outcome. In Kashmir, all eyes were on the number of voters. A strong turnout would deal a blow to separatist groups who have called for a poll boycott to reinforce opposition to Indian rule in the Muslim-majority region. I am voting for development. Separatists need to de-link elections from the struggle for freedom, said Kashmir businessman Iqbal Dar, 49, who cast an early ballot. Voters were also out in Indias financial and entertainment capital of Mumbai, where Islamist militant attacks in November killed 166 people. Security is the only issue. Its the only reason people are stepping out to vote, especially in this area. We have seen it, we have felt it and we know all about it, Chintan Sakariya told AFP after voting in south Mumbai. Sakariya, 29, cast his ballot a stones throw from the Nariman House complex of the the ultra-orthodox Jewish Chabad-Lubovitch movement which was stormed by the Islamist gunmen. The jeweller was trapped with his wife and family in their third-floor flat opposite, unable to leave as the gunmen fired and threw grenades at anyone they saw. His friends parents were killed as they tried to flee. But national security is not a priority issue everywhere, with the bulk of Indias 714 million voters likely to cast their ballots on local issues or according to their caste and religion. Among other states voting Thursday were parts of impoverished Bihar and populous Uttar Pradesh in the north, Gujarat in the west, the southern rural state of Karnataka, and leftist-dominated eastern West Bengal. The month-long ballot the worlds largest democratic exercise wraps up on May 13, with the final results expected three days later. With a lot of support going to local and regional parties, there is no chance of either the incumbent Congress-led alliance or the bloc led by the BJP securing an absolute majority. Who actually ends up governing Indias 1.1 billion people will be decided in what observers are calling the elections sixth phase a period of intense political horse-trading that will follow the expected fractured result. Voting in Gujarat was given an extra touch of tension after Indias Supreme Court ordered an inquiry into the role played by the states chief minister, Narendra Modi, in anti-Muslim riots that swept the state in 2002. A fiery orator with strong support among influential hardline Hindu organisations, Modi, 58, is the frontrunner to eventually succeed the BJPs current candidate for prime minister, 81-year-old L.K. Advani. The allegation of complicity in the riots has dogged Modi for years and tainted his success in turning Gujarat into an economic powerhouse. Im voting to ensure that Narendra Modi is arrested and is punished for all the crimes he has committed against Muslims, said Yusuf Ansari, 55, a trader whose house was burned to the ground in 2002.