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  • India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives a flower bouquet from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah at the party headquarters in New Delhi, India, May 21, 2019.

    India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives a flower bouquet from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah at the party headquarters in New Delhi, India, May 21, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 May 2019

India's marathon election wound up on Sunday after almost six weeks of voting, with results expected on Thursday. 

India's main opposition parties Tuesday alleged voting fraud in the country's general election, days after exit polls predicted a comfortable win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling far right-wing party.

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Members of as many as 22 parties called on the poll watchdog and demanded that electronic machines used to record votes be guarded more stringently, and that counting be done in a fair and transparent manner.

Their concern stemmed from video clips on social media purportedly showing attempts to replace the machines in strongrooms ahead of counting in some places.

"We are asking the Election Commission to respect the mandate of people. It cannot be manipulated," said N. Chandrababu Naidu, of the regional Telegu Desam Party.

Satish Chandra Mishra, a member of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), alleged "large-scale bungling" of the voting machines in Uttar Pradesh state, the biggest by number of lawmakers.

The Election Commission moved swiftly to deny the reports, saying voting machines were "absolutely safe in strongrooms," and those shown in video clips were reserves.

"The Election Commission of India would like to emphatically and unambiguously clarify that all such reports and allegations are absolutely false, and factually incorrect," it said in a statement. "The visuals seen viral on media do not pertain to any EVMs (electronic voting machines) used during the poll."

It also said candidates and their agents could be present in strongrooms "for 24x7 vigil at all times."

The BJP and the main opposition Congress Party, led by Rahul Gandhi, have fought the most acrimonious election campaign in decades, exchanging almost daily barbs and insults.

On Tuesday, a state legislator running for Modi's party in the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and at least 10 others were killed in an attack by suspected separatist militants, officials said.

The attack followed the end of India's typically violent general elections on Sunday, as well as state assembly polls in Arunachal Pradesh - which borders China, Myanmar and Bhutan.

Kiren Rijiju, Indian minister of state of home affairs, confirmed the number of killed to be 11.

A local separatist group, the United Liberation Front of Asom, claimed responsibility.

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