India Elections: Biggest ever democratic exercise begins, heavyweights urge people to vote

India’s Home Minister Amit Shah addresses a public meeting for the Lok Sabha elections 2024, in Jammu on April 16. (ANI Photo)


Appealing to the voters to vote in large numbers in the first phase of elections, India’s Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday said that every vote of the public has the power to create a secure, developed, and self-reliant India. A record 968 million Indian citizens are registered to vote in this year’s national election.

“It is an important day today, as the first phase of voting is taking place in the country. I appeal to all the voters who are voting in this phase to vote in large numbers because every vote of yours has the power to create a secure, developed, and self-reliant India. Your vote is not only meant to determine the fate of a Lok Sabha or a candidate but also to shape a bright future for India,” Shah posted on X.

“My appeal is to choose a strong and decisive leadership that has shown the determination to free the country from corruption, nepotism, and appeasement while fulfilling its promises,” Shah said.

Amit Shah is the BJP candidate from Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, a constituency he won in 2019.

Earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi also called upon the people to vote in large numbers saying “2024 Lok Sabha Elections Begin Today! As 102 constituencies across 21 states and UTs are going to polls, I appeal to all those voting for these constituencies to vote in record numbers. I especially appeal to young and first-time voters to vote in large numbers. After all, every vote counts and every voice matters!”

Voting for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024 began on Friday across 102 parliamentary constituencies spread over 21 states and Union Territories as the mega seven-phase electoral exercise commenced at 7:00 am. Voters will exercise their franchise until 6:00 pm.

Those voting in the first phase include seats in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.

Three generations — Prabha Sharma, her daughter Preeti Kaushik, and granddaughters Shamita Kaushik and Sakshi Kaushik — voted together at a polling booth in Dehradun on April 19, 2024. (ANI)

According to the data released by the Election Commission of India (ECI), a total of 187,000 polling stations have been set up, while 1.8 million personnel have been deployed across the 102 constituencies going to the polls.

Modi is seeking his third consecutive term, while the opposition bloc — I.N.D.I.A. — a coalition of opposing parties formed to take on the BJP in the general elections, is eyeing to oust him from power.

The second phase will be held on April 26 and the remaining phases will be May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1 accordingly. The last general elections in 2019 were also held in seven phases.

Congress National President Mallikarjun Kharge urged voters to cast their votes “carefully,” stating that the “fight to protect our Constitution and democracy begins today.”

“The fight to protect our Constitution and Democracy begins today. My dear citizens, from 21 States and UTs who are voting in the First Phase of the Lok Sabha elections, I request you to carefully cast your vote,” he said in a post on X.

He emphasized that voters hold the power to decide India’s destiny.

“When you push that button on the EVM, pause and reflect for a second — Do you want our Institutions to be subverted through dictatorship, or do you want to protect DEMOCRACY? YOU are now the decider of India’s destiny,” he added in the post.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urged everyone eligible to exercise their franchise emphasizing that each vote is going to “decide the future of Indian democracy and the coming generations.”

“Today is the first phase of voting! Remember, each of your votes is going to decide the future of Indian democracy and the coming generations. So come out and strengthen democracy by applying the power of your vote to the wounds inflicted on the soul of the nation in the last 10 years. Defeat hatred and open the ‘Mohabbat Ki Dukaan’ in every corner,” the Congress leader posted on X.

Related posts