World / Asia-Pacific

India starts biggest day of voting

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-17 14:28

India starts biggest day of voting

Election staff check electronic voting machines (EVM) at a distribution centre ahead of the fifth phase of India's general election at Sirohi district in the desert state of Rajasthan April 16, 2014. Around 815 million people have registered to vote in the world's biggest election - a number exceeding the population of Europe and a world record - and results of the mammoth exercise, which concludes on May 12, are due on May 16. [Photo/Agencies]

MUMBAI - The fifth of India'a nine-phase election for Lok Sabha kicks off Wednesday, with 121 constituencies in 12 states of the Union going to the polls.

Voting is taking place in 28 seats in Karnataka state, followed by Rajasthan (20), Maharashtra (19), Uttar Pradesh and Odisha (11 each), Madhya Pradesh (10), Bihar (seven), Jharkhand (six), West Bengal (four), Chhattisgarh (three), Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur (one each).

India is witnessing the biggest round of electoral exercise on April 17. With this phase the voting will cross the half-way mark in terms of seats in more than a month-long exercise.

The world's biggest ever election is taking place in nine stages from April 7 to May 12, with results due on May 16.

More than 25 bigwigs are trying their luck in Thursday's fifth phase of polling. Nandan Nilekani, Maneka Gandhi, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Union Minister Veerappa Moily and Lalu Prasad's eldest daughter Misa Bharti are amongst the 1,769 candidates in the fifth of the nine-phased elections.

Of the total seats, Congress has 36 while its main challenger, while the BJP has 40.

So far, polling has been held in 111 constituencies in four phases. In the last substantial round, 91 seats went to polls on April 10.

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