A quick look: India votes… the world’s biggest election

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  • More than one-eighth of humanity will have the opportunity to vote in the Indian elections that opens today. Those voters will speak 22 official languages and thousands of dialects. 900 million people are entitled to vote in this election.More than 84 million of them will be first-time voters.
  • Faced with this logistical challenge, India’s Election Commission holds votes in phases over the course of a few weeks, with results due on 23 May.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are given to the election officials on the eve of first phase of the 2019 general election
Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are given to Indian election officials on the eve of first phase of the 2019 general election.
  • People cast their ballots using a briefcase-sized, battery-powered electronic voting machine. After voting, each person’s finger is marked with indelible ink, preventing them from voting twice.
  • Indian law mandates that no voter be forced to travel more than 2km to their nearest polling station.11 million poll workers and security officers to administer the vote that requires 800,000 polling stations.
  • Every Indian citizen over 18 is eligible to vote, provided they are not in prison, have not been declared “mentally unsound” or been convicted of electoral crimes such as bribery.
  • Indians are voting for members of parliament and the job of prime minister tends to go to the leader of the party or coalition with most seats. The current PM is Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party.His main rival is opposition leader Rahul Gandhi of the Congress Party.
  • Parliament has two houses: the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
  • The elections decide the makeup of the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house. The group that can form a governing coalition becomes the government and their leader becomes the prime minister.
  • The main contenders with a nationwide presence are: Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Communist party,Communist party of India (Marxist),Nationalist Congress Party,Shiv Sena, and the All India Trinamool Congress.
  • India’s political scene is extraordinarily complicated, with thousands of candidates and hundreds of parties jostling to forge alliances that cut across caste, religious and linguistic divisions. Even pollsters struggle to comprehend it, and few have been able to accurately predict the result of the last three national elections.


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