"All the abuse and misconduct claims suggest that standards in Indian politics have slipped badly," Asit Banerjee, a history teacher in Kolkata, said as he queued to vote.
"Endless mudslinging and bitter comments pervaded the campaign. We are losing hope in democracy, it is time for a reset," the 60-year-old told AFP.
Writing in the Hindustan Times, political commentator Karan Thapar said Modi's message "played on our insecurities and strummed upon our deep inner fears". He also criticised Gandhi's campaign.