India sets world’s biggest election dates

India sets world’s biggest election dates

India sets world’s biggest election dates

Written by Kumudu Jayawardana

05 Mar, 2014 | 11:57 am

India’s general election will take place in nine phases in April and May, the Election Commissioned has announced.

Polling to elect a new Lok Sabha, or lower house, will run from 7 April to 12 May, with counting on 16 May.

With some 814 million eligible voters, India’s election will be the largest the world has seen.

The ruling Congress party and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party will be battling a host of smaller parties.

Leaders of 11 regional parties have formed a Third Front against the Congress and the BJP.

A new anti-corruption Aam Aadmi (Common Man’s) Party (AAP), which made a spectacular debut in recent polls in the capital Delhi, will also contest the elections.

If no single party wins a clear majority, smaller parties could play a crucial role.

The Congress campaign is being led by Rahul Gandhi, while the BJP’s candidate for the top job is the controversial chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi.

India’s lower house has 543 elected seats and any party or a coalition needs a minimum of 272 MPs to form a government.

The dates on which polling will be held are 7 April, 9 April, 10 April, 12 April, 17 April, 24 April, 30 April, 7 May and 12 May.

Some states will hold polls in several phases. The new parliament has to be constituted by 31 May.

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