The Planet's Largest-Ever Election Has Begun

India has 900M eligible voters
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2019 7:34 AM CDT
Largest-Ever Election Begins—With a Death
A young boy dressed as a policeman stands as Indians wait in a queue to cast their votes in village Sawaal near Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India, on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Voting has begun in the world's largest-ever election, though Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi won't learn his fate for more than a month. India's 900 million eligible voters, a number that exceeds that of the next five largest democracies combined, will vote over seven non-consecutive days before results are revealed May 23, per the Guardian. In the first phase of voting, more than 100 million in 20 states will decide 91 seats, or about a sixth of the total, in the parliament's lower house. Local issues are key, but the vote is also seen as a referendum on Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Some say India has become more religiously divided under his leadership. High unemployment is another concern.

Violence has already erupted at several polling stations as regional parties and the Congress party led by Rahul Gandhi—whose father, grandmother, and great-grandfather each served as prime minister—look to make gains. One person died and four others were critically injured in a fight between workers of two parties in Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh state, reports the BBC. The Guardian reports the staggered election process enables federal security personnel to move to where people are voting. Voter turnout in the last election was around 66%. (More India stories.)

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