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Saturday, May 18, 2024

India Set for Seven-Phase General Election

India prepares for a seven-phase general election, with PM Modi seeking a third term, facing opposition from the INDIA alliance, amidst ambitious targets and comprehensive electoral arrangements.

India is poised to conduct a seven-phase general election starting from April 19, with results expected by June 4, marking the largest democratic exercise globally. The Election Commission of India unveiled the comprehensive schedule during a press conference, revealing that nearly 970 million voters are eligible to participate, underscoring the monumental scale of the electoral process.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar expressed the commission’s commitment to ensure widespread democratic participation across the nation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, eyeing a third consecutive term, has outlined ambitious targets for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), aiming for 370 and 400-plus seats respectively in the 543-member lower house of parliament.

Opposing Modi’s bid, an alliance of around two dozen parties, known as INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance), led by the Indian National Congress, is gearing up to challenge the incumbent government. However, the coalition has faced internal struggles in coordinating seat allocations and maintaining unity.

Election Schedule and Process

The forthcoming elections will unfold over six weeks across seven phases, with states like Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim conducting simultaneous parliamentary and legislative assembly elections. The Election Commission has arranged for over a million polling stations staffed by approximately 15 million poll workers to facilitate the voting process.

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Additionally, the commission announced special provisions for voters with disabilities, ensuring accessibility and assistance at polling stations. Notably, Jammu and Kashmir will undergo a five-phase election process, highlighting the region’s significance in the electoral landscape.

Campaign Dynamics and Modi’s Agenda

Prime Minister Modi has been actively campaigning, showcasing his government’s achievements in economic growth, infrastructure development, and welfare initiatives. He has emphasized the BJP’s commitment to Hindu reawakening, symbolized by the inauguration of a grand temple at the site of a historic mosque.

Modi’s electoral targets surpass previous records, reflecting his party’s ambitions and the momentum garnered from the 2019 election, where the BJP secured its highest-ever tally. With the opposition alliance striving to pose a credible challenge, the upcoming election promises to be a critical juncture in India’s democratic journey.