India’s mega-election is now in its fifth phase which began on Monday. The voting will commence in 51 constituencies across seven states, including India’s biggest state – Uttar Pradesh that accounts for 80 of the 543 lawmakers decided in the election.
According to Reuters, across India more than 87 million people across seven states are eligible to vote in this current elections. The seven-phase election officially began earlier in April. The last votes will be cast on May 19 and all the results will be announced by May 27.
According to Hindustan Times, the latest round of elections see some high-profile contests: “Rae Bareli —where Sonia Gandhi is in the fray, Lucknow — Rajnath Singh is contesting from here, Amethi — Rahul Gandhi’s seat and Saran — where [Bharatiya Janata Party’s] (BJP) Rajiv Pratap Rudy is contesting.”
In today’s voting Amethi, the family borough of India’s main opposition party/leader Rahul Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh will also partake.
Rahul Gandhi who is contesting against the Modi in the elections is focused on the economic policies and seeks to become the fourth member of his family to take the prime minister’s office. Pleading to end abject poverty by 2030, Gandhi give cash transfers to 50 million families.
In a bid for more support and for a fourth straight term from the city, Gandhi on Friday penned an emotional letter to the people of Amethi, amid accusations that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters were giving cash handouts to voters.
“Vote in large numbers to bring back this member of the family,” Gandhi, 48, wrote.
The BJP has put up a minister and former television actress Smriti Irani against Gandhi.
In 2014, the BJP decimated Gandhi’s Congress party, clinching 282 seats in the biggest landslide in decades. This election is predicted to be closer.
Modi has been on a campaign frenzy across the country, portraying himself as as a strongman leader. He has capitalised on nationalist fervour, drawing complaints from rivals that he uses hate speech and the armed forces for propaganda.
On Saturday, India’s poll watchdog dismissed a complaint that Modi had boasted about India unleashing missiles on Pakistan during a recent tense standoff.
Uttar Pradesh is also where Hindu nationalist groups have aggressively pushed for the building of a temple on the ruins of a 16th century mosque, in the city of Ayodhya, which has become a flashpoint in tension with minority Muslims.