In­dia be­gins gi­ant gen­eral elec­tion

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

In­di­ans are voting in the first phase of a gen­eral elec­tion which pits the gov­ern­ing Congress party against the Hindu na­tion­al­ist BJP op­po­si­tion.

The nine-phase vote got un­der way in the north-east­ern states of As­sam and Tripura and will con­clude on 12 May. Votes will be counted on 16 May.

More than 814 mil­lion In­di­ans are el­i­gi­ble to vote in a poll dom­i­nated by cor­rup­tion and high in­fla­tion. An an­ticor­rup­tion party the AAP of­fers an­other chal­lenge to the main par­ties.

The Aam Aadmi (Com­mon Man’s) Party) se­cured a spec­tac­u­lar re­sult in lo­cal polls in Delhi last au­tumn and is field­ing can­di­dates in all of par­lia­ment’s 543 elected seats.

Sev­eral smaller re­gional par­ties are also in the fray and if no sin­gle party wins a clear ma­jor­ity, they could play a cru­cial role in govern­ment for­ma­tion.

In­dia’s marathon vote is be­ing stag­gered over more than a month for se­cu­rity and lo­gis­ti­cal rea­sons.

On the first day of voting, polling is tak­ing place in six con­stituen­cies in two states in the north-east - five in As­sam and one in Tripura.

Vot­ers be­gan queu­ing up out­side the polling cen­tres even be­fore voting be­gan in the morn­ing, the BBC’s San­joy Ma­jumder in As­sam says.

A large num­ber of the vot­ers who turned up were women, dressed in colourful saris and some draped in As­samese shawls.

Many smiled hap­pily af­ter they had voted, hold­ing up their fin­gers stained with in­deli­ble ink, a sign that they had ex­er­cised their right, our cor­re­spon­dent adds. “We need good people in govern­ment,” said one of them.

A large num­ber of the vot­ers who turned up were women, dressed in colourful saris and some draped in As­samese shawls.

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