India begins voting on third phase of national parliamentary elections

India begins voting on third phase of national parliamentary elections

115 seats of India’s 545-seat lower house are up for grabs today as the world’s largest democracy votes in the

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Photo: Reuters

115 seats of India’s 545-seat lower house are up for grabs today as the world’s largest democracy votes in the third phase of its national election.

97 constituencies across 13 states will vote today. Most notably, all 26 seats in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, will be decided. The ruling Indian People’s Party (BJP) claimed all 26 seats in the 2014 election.

Both the BJP and main opposition Indian National Congress party are confident about their chances in Gujarat. Mr Modi has declared that anything less than winning all 26 seats would be a failure, while Congress is hoping to wrest control of up to 13 seats in the state. Congress had a 2.5% swing in its favour in state elections in 2017, which means it will likely bag at least a few seats today, although anything more than five would be a surprise, according to polling.

More generally, the BJP is hoping to retain its slim one-party majority in the Lok Sabha—an anomaly in India’s electoral history—so the loss of even a few seats could be crucial. The BJP is still expected to win the election, but it appears likely that Mr Modi’s party will need to govern in a coalition if he secures another term.

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