The first of seven phases of voting in India's over a month-long general election was underway Thursday, in what is characterized as the world’s biggest poll, to choose the country's next prime minister.
Long queues were observed outside the stations. Women and the elderly turned out in large numbers to cast ballots across Lok Sabha constituencies for this stage of the critical general election, India's Press Information Bureau reported. The social media presence and interactivity of this integral voting process is furthered by #FestivalOfDemocracy, which is representative of the world's largest democracy.
Voting began at 07:00 a.m. local time with approximately 142 million people eligible to vote.
One person reportedly died and four others were critically injured in Andhra Pradesh, BBC said. Other minor clashes, as well as technical problems with electronic voting machines across several polling stations, were reported.
Overall 900 million people are eligible to exercise their franchise over a period of some 39 days to select a leader to helm the southeast Asian nation for the next five years, the BBC has stated. India's parliament comprises 543 elected seats and all parties or coalitions need a minimum of 272 members of parliament to form a government.
#UnfoldingIndianElections with #PIB— PIB India (@PIB_India) April 11, 2019
States with a maximum number of women candidates elected in 2014; Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 13 followed by West Bengal with 12.#IndiaElections2019 #VoteForIndia pic.twitter.com/xJoxlWrZ12
Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (of coalition National Democratic Alliance) leader and incumbent Narendra Modi faces off with main rival 48-year-old Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, who could become the fourth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to hold the office - following the steps of his father, grandmother and great-grandfather.
Modi is seeking a second consecutive term in office.
Tribal female voters showing mark of indelible ink after casting their votes, at a polling booth, during the 1st Phase of #GeneralElections2019 at Umtyrnga, Ri-Bohi district, in #Meghalaya pic.twitter.com/nB91tvlopJ— PIB India (@PIB_India) April 11, 2019
At Gaya CRPF personnel extending helping hand. pic.twitter.com/BF7nRlcW5T— Sheyphali Sharan (@SpokespersonECI) April 11, 2019
Sumitra Rai, 107, the oldest voter of Sikkim has just cast her vote @ Kamrang secondary school polling station at Poklok Kamrang, South Sikkim.#LokSabhaElections2019 #SikkimElections2019 #FestivalOfDemocracy@PIB_India@SpokespersonECI @DGNorthEast https://t.co/8lKi1gdOQp pic.twitter.com/EWr9GpsqSd— PIB in Sikkim (@PIBGangtok) April 11, 2019