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2024 India election: 1 billion begin voting

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Polls across the world’s largest democracy will remain open until 1 June.
2024 india election voting

The 2024 India election has begun, with nearly a billion people voting over several months.

Polls across the world’s largest democracy will remain open until 1 June.

Incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third successive term in power.

Modi is being challenged by dozens of opposition parties working together to end his decade as India’s leader.

About India

After nearly 100 years under British rule, India declared independence in 1947.

Its Parliament consists of the Lok Sabha (like the House of Representatives) and Rajya Sabha (Senate equivalent). Every five years, the composition of the 543-seat Lok Sabha is determined by a general election.

The party that secures a majority of seats will decide their nominee for PM, who is then appointed by the country’s president.

Modi

Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014. He is the first leader to be born after India achieved independence.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won more than 300 lower house seats in 2019, is the favourite to win the election. It works in coalition with some other parties but polls suggest it won’t need them to win a majority.

Modi’s government is credited with driving economic growth and improving foreign relationships.

Democracy concerns

India’s constitution protects the right to freedom of expression. However, Modi’s government has been accused of restricting free speech by trying to silence media and minority groups.

For example, last year it used emergency powers to block clips from a BBC documentary on social media, and later raided two BBC India offices.

The documentary investigated deadly riots in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002 while Modi was its leader, questioning his actions.

Opposition

A group of opposition parties joined forces last year to challenge Modi and the BHJ at this year’s election.

Under the name INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) ,the group is led by the country’s largest opposition party, Indian National Congress.

INDIA has told voters it will take action to combat inflation and rising unemployment. It has also criticised Modi’s tightening of press freedom, promising to add laws to protect media from government surveillance.

2024 India election voting underway

Voting will occur at polling machines across India.

It has been staggered over six weeks to ensure all voters can access polling and to provide adequate security at each polling booth.

According to Indian electoral requirements, there must be at least one voting centre within 2 kilometres of every home.

Young voters

Around 18 million young voters are expected to cast their first election ballot in the coming weeks.

According to UN data, under 25-year-olds make up 40% of India’s population.

The last polling day will be on 1 June. The results are expected to be announced three days later.

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