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India general election hits 7th phase

AP
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In Telangana, around 28 million people were expected to vote for 17 seats in Parliament and 119 seats in the state assembly.PHOTO:NAGARA GOPAL
In Telangana, around 28 million people were expected to vote for 17 seats in Parliament and 119 seats in the state assembly.PHOTO:NAGARA GOPAL

Indian voters headed to polling booths Wednesday to elect 89 members of the Lok Sabha, in the 7th phase of the general elections.

The voters on Wednesday included Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial hopeful from the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

India's two national parties are locked in a tense battle for control of the next government, with Congress facing a possible drubbing due to corruption scandals and a recent economic slowdown.

On Wednesday, nearly 140 million people were eligible to vote for 89 seats in Parliament, including all 26 from Gujarat, Narendra Modi's home state.

Elections were also being held in Punjab, Bihar and West Bengal.

Fourteen constituencies in Uttar Pradesh were also voting, including Rae Bareli, where Congress party President Sonia Gandhi is running.

Security was tight in Uttar Pradesh, with tens of thousands of paramilitary troops and police deployed across the state.

In elections last week, supporters of political parties took over 11 polling stations in Rampur constituency, said Umesh Sinha, the state’s chief electoral officer. A new election was ordered and took place on Tuesday.

Sinha said police were given shoot-on-sight orders to prevent any outbreak of violence or any attempt to disrupt Wednesday’s voting.

In Telangana, around 28 million people were expected to vote for 17 seats in Parliament and 119 seats in the state assembly.

Telangana, India’s 29th state, was carved out of Andhra Pradesh state in February after nearly six decades of street protests and strikes.

Telangana supporters say statehood will bring more money to their underdeveloped area. But the move to create Telangana was opposed by the rest of Andhra Pradesh, which will eventually lose its capital city of Hyderabad to the new state.

Opinion polls have given Modi an edge and indicate that the BJP could form India’s next government.

Modi’s critics say his image has been tainted by sectarian violence that ripped through Gujarat in 2002, killing nearly 1,000 Muslims.AP


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