India’s General Election to Stretch over 44 Days

03:55 March 21, 2024

India’s General Election to Stretch over 44 Days

India will begin the world’s largest general election next month.

The process is expected to stretch over 44 days before results are announced on June 4. Nearly 970 million Indians – more than 10 percent of the world population – will be eligible to take part.

The voting process will choose 543 lawmakers to India’s lower house of Parliament. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third term in office. He will face off against an alliance of opposition parties struggling to unseat him. Most public opinion studies predict Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party will win.

Here are some of the main facts to know about the election.

Why will the election take so long?

There are two main reasons the election will stretch on so long. One is that India is the world’s most populous country. The other reason, experts say, is because it will be a huge logistical effort to make sure that every registered voter can take part in the process.

The voting process will take place over seven parts, or stages. The country’s 28 states and eight federal territories will vote at different times. Each stage will last one day, with the first held on April 19 and the last held on June 1.

Voters in some states will cast their ballots over a day, while in other places it may take longer. Uttar Pradesh, the largest state with 200 million people, will vote over a period of seven days, for example.

During the election, voting stations will be set up in remote places. This will include a wildlife refuge in southern Kerala state and another in a shipping container in western Gujarat state.

How is security a concern?

Experts say one main reason for the multi-stage election is to improve security.

Tens of thousands of federal security forces will be deployed during the voting. The guards, including those who usually guard borders, will be sent along with state police to prevent violence and to transport electoral officials and voting machines.

Deadly clashes involving supporters of competing political parties harmed past elections. But such violence has eased over the years, thanks to heavy security.

The Indian government’s elections chief, Rajiv Kumar, said recently, “Look at the geography of the country … there are rivers, mountains, snow, jungles … think of the security forces’ movements. They will have to travel through the length and breadth of the country.”

Kumar added, “We will walk the extra mile so voters don’t have to.”

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Google Play VOA Learning English - Digdok