The world’s largest democracy, India, is going through the voting process. The nine-phase vote began Apr. 7 and will continue to complete on May 12. The votes will be counted on May 16.
Over 814 million Indians are eligible to vote in the election, a 100 million more than the last election in 2009, BBC news says.
With Narendra Modi heavily favoured as India’s next Prime Minister, the largest voting exercise on the planet has political analysts forecasting the voting pattern and people’s choices of winners.
Most of the opinion polls done on national and international level predict the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerging as the winner.
However, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is expected to fall short of 229 seats and would need more allies to reach a majority in the 545-member lower house of parliament.
The pre-poll results of Pew Research Centre revealed that seven out of 10 Indians are unhappy with the current government.
People prefer BJP over Congress in a three to one ratio. The survey was conducted between December and January.
- India’s lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, has 543 elected seats.
- Any party or coalition needs a minimum of 272 MPs to form a majority government.
- Some 814 million voters are eligible to vote.
- There are 930,000 polling stations.
- Congress, BJP and AAP are the key players in election 2014.
The main contest is between Narendra Modi, prime ministerial candidate of the opposition party BJP and Rahul Gandhi, vice president of the ruling Congress.
Congress Party has dominated country’s political stage since the birth of independent India in 1947. Since mid- 80s, it has not been in majority and depends on alliances with small parties. This year too, Congress is continuing with its United Progressive Alliance.
Similarly, BJP has formed National Democratic Alliance with the help of smaller parties. A ‘third front’ has been formed by the 11 regional parties which would likely break if election results lead to a hung parliament, the experts say.
The “Modi” factor
Elected three times in Gujrat, Narendra Damodardas Modi is the strongest candidate for this year’s election. A self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, he is known for his effective administration skills and as an incorruptible leader of the BJP.
Modi is being heavily criticized by the opposition and the Muslim minority for having a role in the Godhra train burning incident in 2002. After the train incident, Hindus killed Muslims, burning out their homes and properties.
Modi was widely accused of watering down the incident and failing to condemn the atrocities being inflicted on the minority population under his administration.
However his successful economic models have earned him lot of praise from within and abroad. He is being seen as the next prime minister of democratic India.
(From left) Rahul Ghandi, Arvind Kegiriwal, Narendra Modi, key players of election 2014.
APP poses big challenge to traditional rivals
Aam Admi (the common man’s) Party, having secured strong results in last year’s Delhi polls, is posing hard challenge to traditional rivals, Congress and BJP in Delhi.
The anti-corruption activist and AAP’s leader, Arvind Kejriwal is taking on Modi over Varanasi, the holy city of Hindus in the northern state of Utter Pradesh.
Kejriwal climbed the ladder of fame in December when his party bagged 28 seats in the state assembly and elevated him to the top slot of chief minister. He stayed in power for only 28 days and opted to resign over an anti-corruption bill.