Voters in Rajasthan cast their ballots as India holds first phase of a 6-week election

(19 Apr 2024)
RESTRICTION SUMMARY:

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Neemrana, Rajasthan – 19 April 2024
1. Wide of a school that has been converted into a polling station
2. Various of people voting
3. Electoral ink being applied on a voter’s finger
4. Various of a woman putting her thumbprints as initials
5. People entering the polling station
6. SOUNDBITE (Hindi) Atinder Singh, voter:
“If the new government is able to solve unemployment then it will be good. Otherwise, people are migrating out from this region to earn a living. There are not a lot of resources here.”
7. Various of people waiting to vote
8. SOUNDBITE (Hindi) Gaje Singh, retired:
“I want the new government to be devoted to the service of the nation, the poor, the common man.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Behror, Rajasthan – 19 April 2024
9. Mid of a voter at a selfie point installed at a polling booth
10. Person voting
11. Voters and officials
12. Wide of voters leaving

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Doda, Jammu and Kashmir – 19 April 2024
13. Wide of a pink polling booth, managed by women
14. Wide of women waiting to cast their votes
15. Woman showing electoral ink painted on her finger

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Kohima, Nagaland – 19 April 2024
16. Pan of polling booth, people waiting to cast their vote

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Chedema, Nagaland – 19 April 2024
17. Women stand waiting for their turn to vote
18. Wide of polling station

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Bahona village, Assam – 19 April 2024
19. Man being assisted to polling station
20. Various of people waiting to cast their votes
STORYLINE:
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. local time 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.

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 yet.

The BJP controls much of India’s Hindi-speaking northern and central parts, but is now trying to gain a foothold in the east and south.

Their toughest challenge is in the southern Tamil Nadu state, with 39 seats, and where voting is being held on Friday.

Voters in hot and humid Chennai, the state’s capital, began briskly filling the city’s nearly 4,000 polling booths.

A number of them said they were voting for a change in federal government given rising prices, unemployment and religious polarization stoked by the BJP.

Voting is also taking place in the northeastern state of Manipur, where a near-civil war for a year has triggered ethnic violence.

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