NEW DELHI, Millions of voters started lining up in front of polling booths across India in the third and largest phase of parliamentary elections to choose MPs in 116 seats across 15 states and union territories.
The largest general elections in the world would witness heated competition between the ruling National Democratic Alliance led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress under its chief Rahul Gandhi and other regional parties.
All parliamentary seats in Gujarat (26), Kerala (20) and Goa (two) would go for voting today. Other seats are spread across various states, including four seats in Assam, five in Bihar, seven in Chhattisgarh, 14 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, six in Odisha, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, five in West Bengal and one each in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Tripura.
The Election Commission had postponed polling in Tripura East constituency following security threats after it was scheduled for the second phase on April 18. Among the prominent politicians facing elections in this phase are BJP President Amit Shah (in Gujarat Gandhinagar) and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad constituency in Kerala.
The current phase is crucial for the political future of the ruling BJP as it is defending 62 seats won in the 2014 elections.
Some 900 million eligible voters would cast their vote to elect the government that would be out on May 23.
Modi’s government is facing criticism for its “wrong-headed” economic policy, especially the new tax reforms and demonetization. The current government is also held responsible for creating an atmosphere of fear among minorities, especially Muslims and pitching them against extremist elements among the majority Hindus. Opinion polls are not giving any concrete majority to form the government for any of the competing parties and it is seen that any government would be made up of post-election coalition.
Source: Kuwait News Agency