Voters give thoughts as world’s largest democratic election kicks off in India

(19 Apr 2024)

Chennai – 19 April 2024
1. Various of people standing in line outside polling stations to vote
2. Voters inside polling station, election officials
3. Various of an old woman being helped by a man, talking to election official
4. Close of indelible ink being applied on finger
5. Man voting, tilt down to voting machine
6. Woman entering booth to vote
7. Election official checking paper with voters list
8. Man voting and leaving
9. Wide of a woman registering to vote
10. Close of woman’s finger being inked
11. Woman voting, other voters registering to vote
12. Woman walking away
13. SOUNDBITE (Tamil) Mary Das, 65, Voter:
“The first thing I came to vote for is to have a country without any religious disharmony. We’ve all come to vote. In Tamil Nadu, we’re all together. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, we’re all together. And this unity should grow."
14. Wide of voters standing in line outside polling station
15. Wide of polling station
16. Various of woman registering to vote and finger being inked
17. Woman voting and walking away
18. Close of voting compartment reading (English) “Tamil Nadu”
19. SOUNDBITE (Tamil) Ponselvi (uses only one name), 66, Voter:
"Price rise should be controllable, women and girls should feel safe, children in school should have job opportunities once they finish college.”
20. Policewoman outside polling station decorated with balloons
21. Wide of police outside polling station
22. Close of man showing his inked finger
Millions of Indians began voting Friday in a six-week election that’s a referendum on Narendra Modi, the populist prime minister who has championed an assertive brand of Hindu nationalist politics and is seeking a rare third term as the country’s leader.

The voters began queuing up at polling stations hours before they were allowed in at 7 a.m. in the first 21 states to hold votes, from the Himalayan mountains to the tropical Andaman Islands.

Nearly 970 million voters — more than 10% of the world’s population — will elect 543 members to the lower house of Parliament for five years during the staggered elections that run until June 1. The votes will be counted on June 4.

A resident of Chennai Mary Das, 65, told The Associated Press that she hopes the result will promote harmony among people following different religions.

Another voter Ponselvi, 66, who only uses one name, said stable prices, safety for women and job opportunities for graduates are among her top concerns.

This election is seen as one of the most consequential in India’s history and will test the limits of Modi’s political dominance.

If Modi wins, he’ll be only the second Indian leader to retain power for a third term, after Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister.

Most polls predict a win for Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, who are up against a broad opposition alliance led by the Indian National Congress and powerful regional parties.

It’s not clear who will lead India if the opposition alliance, called INDIA, wins the election. Its more than 20 parties have not put forward a candidate, saying they will choose one after the results are known.

AP video shot by Shonal Ganguly


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