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Central & South Asia

India votes on second biggest polling day

Eleven states and a union territory vote for 117 seats in parliamentary elections that ruling Congress party may lose.

Last updated: 24 Apr 2014 16:42
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The ruling Congress party faces a struggle to be re-elected after a decade in power [AFP]

Millions of Indians have voted in the sixth phase of the multi-phase elections, with the ruling Congress party struggling to retain its support base because of economic slowdown and corruption.

Voters across 117 constituencies in 11 states - Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal - and one union territory - Puducherry - cast their ballots.

 

Maoist rebels killed five police officers as they were returning from polling duty in eastern Jharkhand state, which recorded 63 percent voter turnout, an official said.

More thanr 82 percent went to vote in the neighbouring West Bengal state.

Security measures were tightened in India's northeastern province of Assam on Thursday to ensure safe and fearless environment for voters. About 53 percent voting was recorded in the state.

After a sluggish start, voting in Mumbai, India's financial capital, picked up pace in the afternoon with the city registering an average voter turnout of 53 percent.

In the Indian-administered Kashmir, the officials observed 28 percent of voting amid a poll boycott call by various rebel groups and pro-independence political parties.

According to reports, anti-India demonstrators also clashed with police in various parts of the disputed region.

In the eastern state of Bihar, officials said 60 percent polling was recorded in the seven parliamenatry seats, while over 56 percent polling was recorded in Rajasthan.

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In the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where all the 39 Lok Sabha constituencies went for voting, about 73 percent of polling was observed.

The central Chhattisgarh state saw 66 percent polling, according to election officials.

More than 60 percent voters exercised their franchise in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where polling closed for 12 seats.

The election has turned into a face-off between Rahul Gandhi, best known for his famous last name, and Modi, who has been lauded by India's corporate leaders and foreign companies for his business-friendly policies and his Gujarat state.

BJP and its allies are set to win a narrow majority of the 543 parliamentary seats, but fall short of the 272-seat mark needed for a majority, according to latest polls.

The ruling Congress party, led by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, and its allies were forecast to win just 111 parliamentary seats in the poll.


Web Exclusive Video: Medha Patkar campaigns in Mumbai


Congress faces a struggle to be re-elected after a decade in power due to public anger over the economic slowdown, high inflation and a string of corruption scandals.

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Source:
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