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World’s largest electoral exercise begins on April 7
March 5, 2014, 6:09 am

An Indian Samajwadi Party supporter listens to party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav at a public rally “Desh Banao, Desh Bachao”, or “Make the Country, Save the Country”, in Allahabad, India, Sunday, March 2, 2014 [AP]

An Indian Samajwadi Party supporter listens to party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav at a public rally “Desh Banao, Desh Bachao”, or “Make the Country, Save the Country”, in Allahabad, India, Sunday, March 2, 2014 [AP]

The Indian general elections will kick off on April 7 and end on May 12 with voting held in nine phases, the Election Commission announced on Wednesday.

The elections are to be held on April 7, 9, 10, 12, 17, 24, 30, May 7 and May 12, the largest electoral process ever seen.

The votes will be counted on May 16.

The lower house of the Indian Parliament has 543 seats, out of which a minimum of 272 is needed to form a government by a party or coalition.

India has in recent years seen successive coalition governments as fractured mandates have resulted in no single party getting enough seats to muster a majority on its own strength.

The nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is seen by opinion polling agencies and national media reports as a frontrunner to be the single biggest party in the 2014 parliamentary polls.

The ruling Congress Party has seen its popularity declining amid allegations of corruption and ineffective governance.

Meanwhile, for the first time in general elections in India, voters will have the option to reject all candidates and vote for “None Of The Above” (NOTA).

Twitter India was abuzz with reactions to the Election Commission’s announcement.

“This election looks like a possible mandate “against someone” more than “for someone” #Elections2014” tweeted @BabaGlocal.

“814 million people can vote in these elections! That’s why it is the greatest show on earth! #LokSabhapolls” wrote Indian journalist Vikram Chandra.

India’s fellow BRICS members Brazil and South Africa are also slated to hold general elections later this year.

TBP

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