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Millions of voters will cast their ballots in 121 constituencies across 12 States, including trouble-torn Kashmir. Several separatist organizations have jointly appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to boycott the parliamentary elections.
The states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur.
Most opinion polls have predicted the right-wing BJP getting a lead over the others, but falling short of the halfway mark of 272 needed to form the government.
814 million people are eligible to vote in the world’s largest democratic exercise to choose a new government.
Although rights groups and his opponents have accused the BJP’s Hindu nationalist leader and prime minister nominee Narendra Modi of complicity in one of the worst communal violence in post-Partition India in his home state of Gujarat in 2002, Modi, a three-time Chief Minister has surged ahead in popularity according to recent opinion polls.
The multiphase voting across the country runs until May 12, with results for the 543-seat lower house of Parliament announced May 16.