Indians Vote in Marathon Election
16 Apr 09 | AJE
Tens of millions of Indians have cast their ballots in the first phase of India’s month-long election.
More than 140 million of India’s 714 million voters were eligible to take part on Thursday, with a total of 124 seats in the Lok Sabha, or lower house of parliament, up for grabs.
Long queues formed outside many polling stations in the morning, beofre tailing off as temperatures soared towards noon.
Most states reported turnout of more than 60 per cent despite the fact that no clear winner is likely to emerge during the five stages of voting which end on May 13.
More than two million officers have been deployed to prevent unrest during the election, which will use more than 1.3 million electronic voting machines in 828,804 polling stations.
However, there were scattered reports of violence by suspected Maoist fighters in several states on Thursday.
S Y Quraishi, India’s chief election commissioner, told Al Jazeera that polling was disrupted by violence at about 60 or 70 polling stations.
“If you look at the magnitude of the exercise that is not such a shocking number … considering we had 180,000 polling station operating today,” he said. >>>