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Polling Begins in Key Indian States

The key provincial elections in five Indian states began on Tuesday, with millions lining outside the polling stations to cast their vote in two states in the first phase.

In October, the election body announced polls in the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, and Telangana.

On Tuesday, under the phase 1, polls are being held in northeastern state of Mizoram and 20 constituencies of central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

In the first phase covering 20 of the total 90 assembly seats in Chhattisgarh, 4.07 million voters are eligible to cast their vote. In Mizoram, all 40 seats are going in a single-phase poll, with 850,288 electorate.

Mizoram is ruled by Mizo National Front, a partner of the National Democratic Alliance led by the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party. This is the first election in northeast India after ethnic violence erupted in neighboring Manipur in May, killing nearly 200 people.

In Chhattisgarh, the opposition Indian National Congress party, which is ruling the state, aims to retain power in the state.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged the “young and first-time voters to exercise their franchise and strengthen the festival of democracy.”

One paramilitary personnel was injured in a blast in Chhattisgarh state, local news gathering agency Press Trust of India reported. The Maoist rebels have been fighting for more than three decades in eastern and central India for what they describe as the rights of tribal people in the region.

Officials said adequate security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful polling.

In the five states, election authorities say there are 679 assembly constituencies, which is around “one-sixth of the total” legislative assembly constituencies in the country, and 161 million eligible voters, including 6 million first-time voters.

The voting in five Indian states will take place between Nov. 7-30 and counting will take place on Dec. 3.

These polls hold a unique significance before the grand stage of the general elections in 2024.

Source : aa