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India elections

India opens world's biggest elections with lower house voting

Results of the multistage poll will be tallied by early June

A woman shows her ink-marked finger after casting her vote at a polling station in Jaipur, India, on April 19. (Photo by Shinya Sawai)

JAIPUR, India -- India on Friday began voting in the first of its seven-phase general elections that will carry on until early June, the world's biggest electoral exercise, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is eyeing a third straight five-year term.

In the first phase, 102 of 543 constituencies of the lower parliamentary house, the Lok Sabha, will be up for grabs. The world's largest democracy has 36 states and federally governed territories. Of these, 22 are voting in a single day, nine have double, triple or four polling dates, while two face a five-stage election. Three remaining ones -- northern Uttar Pradesh state with 80 seats, the most in the country; and eastern West Bengal with 42 and Bihar 40 -- are voting in all seven stages up to June 1.

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