India: voting begins for 4th phase of legislative elections

At least 177 million voters, including 87.3 million women, were called to the polls to decide between 1,717 candidates for representatives in 96 of the country's 543 lower house of parliament constituencies, spread across nine states and one territory. according to the General Election Commission.

On an unprecedented scale, these elections will run until June 1, with a total of more than 968 million registered voters, 15 million election agents mobilized, and more than one million polling stations deployed across the country.

Political analysts and opinion polls tend to favor a historic third term for current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who enjoys strong popularity across the country.

His party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), has set an ambitious goal of winning 370 seats (400 for the alliance) in this election.

The Congress, the main opposition party, leads the National Inclusive Alliance for India's Development (INDIA), a coalition of around twenty parties, which was formed in 2023 to lead the election fight.

The third phase of voting, which took place last Tuesday, saw Narendra Modi voting in the Gandhinagar constituency, the capital of Gujarat (western) state.

The fifth stage of the election process is set for May 20, the sixth stage on May 25, while the seventh and final stage will be held on June 1.

The vote count is scheduled for June 4.

Serena Hoyles

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