January 20, 2013 By

Giant General Election Begins in India

electionMore than 800 million eligible voters will be going to the 930,000 polling stations across the country to cast their ballot in the much awaited national election on Monday. The nine phase ballot concludes on May 12 and the votes would be counted on May 16.

The ruling Congress party led by Rahul Gandhi, the latest member of India’s influential Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, is contesting against the Hindu nationalist BJP (Bharathiya Janata Party) led by the controversial leader, Narendra Modi. A new anti-corruption party, the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party), is also contesting the elections after a spectacular result in the state assembly polls in the capital, Delhi.

The Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) has 543 elected seats and any party or a coalition needs a minimum of 272 MPs to form a government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already said that he is stepping down. Electronic voting machines will be used and will, for the first time, contain a None of the Above (Nota) button, an option for voters who do not want to cast their vote for any of the candidates.

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