INDIA GOES TO POLLS. Apr 19 to Jun 4

March 16, 2024 05:33 PM

INDIA GOES TO POLLS. April 19 to June 4

NEW DELHI - India will hold a seven-phase general election starting April 19, with the results to be declared on June 4.

The Election Commission of India made the announcement in a news conference in New Delhi on Saturday.

Ahead of election, tension brews in Kashmir over tribal caste quotas.

Nearly 970 million people are eligible to vote, according to the poll panel’s data, making the election the largest democratic exercise in the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third straight term in the vote. He has set a target of 370 seats for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and 400-plus for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) the BJP heads in the 543-member lower house of parliament.

In 2019, the BJP won 303 seats – the best ever for the party formed in 1980.

Modi will be challenged by an alliance of two dozen opposition parties, called INDIA or the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, led by the Indian National Congress.

The alliance formed last year has, however, been struggling to stay united and share seats amicably to be able to put up a one-to-one fight against Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

A victory would make Modi, 73, only the second prime minister after Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s independence hero and its first prime minister, to win a third straight term.

Modi and his BJP have been in campaign mode for months before the dates for the vote were announced.

The prime minister has been flying around the country almost every day, inaugurating new projects, making announcements, taking part in religious events and addressing public and private meetings.

In four states – Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim – the parliamentary and legislative assembly elections will be held simultaneously.

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