India Begins 'World's Largest General Election'

India Begins 'World's Largest General Election'

April 19, 2024, 8:34 a.m.

What is being called the world's largest general election kicks off in India on Friday, with roughly 970 million eligible voters. It pits Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party against an opposition alliance.

The voting to choose members of the lower house is staggered, with seven different polling dates set for constituencies across the country. The seventh and final phase of voting will take place on June 1.

Modi, who belongs to the governing Bharatiya Janata Party, is seeking a third term in office. An opposition alliance centering around the Indian National Congress party is aiming to grab the reins of government.

The ruling and opposition camps have been campaigning vigorously to drum up voter support.

The BJP says that under the Modi government, India's gross domestic product has grown to the world's fifth largest and is predicted to expand to rank third as early as 2027.

The opposition accuses the Modi administration of allowing wealth inequality to widen in pursuit of economic development. It also says the government has failed to create enough jobs for young people.

Recent opinion surveys put the BJP ahead of the opposition alliance. However, regional parties that are part of the opposition alliance retain strong support in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where people vote in Phase 1.

Modi attended large public meetings in the state to boost voter support for his party.

Vote counting is due to start on June 4

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