May 25, 2024, 8:32 pm

Modi casts his vote as giant election reaches half-way mark

  • Update Time : Wednesday, May 8, 2024
  • 12 Time View
Photo: Collected

International Desk:
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi walks alongside Amit Shah, Indian Home Minister and leader of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the day he casts his vote, May 7, 2024, Rueters
Polls have opened in the third of the seven-phase Indian election, with 11 states voting for 93 seats in Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi voted early Tuesday and called for a strong turnout although he warned of

the scorching summer heat.
The world’s most populous nation began voting on April 19 in a seven-phase election in which nearly one billion people are eligible to vote, with ballots set to be counted on June 4.
The first two phases of the vote were held on April 19 and April 26 in 190 constituencies, with a voter turnout of 66.1 percent and 66.7 percent, respectively, about 4 percent lower than in 2019.
Modi is seeking a rare, third straight term in a vote which pits his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against an alliance of more than two dozen opposition parties. Surveys suggest he will win a comfortable majority.
“I urge all citizens to vote in large numbers and celebrate the festival of democracy… To all those working in the heat, I urge you to take care of your health and drink adequate water,” he said shortly after voting in his home state of Gujarat.
Modi cast his ballot in the Gandhinagar constituency where his number two, Home Minister Amit Shah, is the BJP candidate.
Modi’s campaign began by showcasing his economic record, welfare measures, national pride and personal popularity.
But it changed tack after the first phase of voting on April 19 and focused more on firing up BJP’s Hindu base by attacking rivals as pro-Muslim, even as surveys say jobs and inflation are the main concerns of voters. In an interview with broadcaster Times Now aired on Monday, Modi said he does not oppose Islam or Muslims and wants the community to think about their future growth as they vote. Tuesday’s polling covers 93 seats in 11 states and territories, with Gujarat and Maharashtra in the west and Karnataka in the south accounting for 50 seats. That would complete voting for 283 of parliament’s 543 elected seats. The elections primarily pit the National Democratic Alliance, led by two-time Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), against the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, spearheaded by the main opposition Indian National Congress party.
Voters will elect representatives to fill 543 seats of the Lok Sabha. The party or coalition that secures a majority will form the next government. There are about 969 million registered voters for the world’s largest democratic exercise for six weeks. The results will be announced on June 4.

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