India Election: Voting Starts On Biggest Polling Day

Indians are voting in the biggest day of the general election pitting the ruling Congress party against the main opposition BJP.

Polling takes place in 121 seats in 12 states, including the key states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and West Bengal.

The nine-phase vote began on 7 April and will conclude on 12 May. Votes will be counted on 16 May.

More than 814 million Indians are eligible to vote in the polls.

Polling has been already completed in 111 seats, and voter turnout in most states has been higher than in 2009.

Thursday is one of the most critical days of voting spread across 12 states, from Indian-administered Kashmir in the north, to the information-technology hub of Bangalore in the south, Rajasthan in the west and the tea-growing Himalayan town of Darjeeling in the east, says the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder.

"I have come for the first time to cast my vote and since it is my first time I would like to appeal to everyone that they should cast their vote as it is good for our future and we have to bring the government of choice to power," Arun, a first time voter in Maharashtra, told Reuters news agency.

With all of its 28 seats going to polls on Thursday, the southern state of Karnataka is a key battleground.


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