Indians turn out in big numbers to vote in 1st phase of general election

Indians turned out in big numbers to vote in the first phase of a mammoth general election on Thursday, Reuters reported. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a second term after campaigning on his national security record.

Voting in the first of seven rounds is being held in 91 parliament constituencies across 20 states and federally administered regions. There are 543 seats at stake.

Almost 900 million of India’s 1.3 billion people are eligible to vote. The first phase of voting covers an electorate of 142 million. Support for Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rose in response to Modi’s tough stance against Pakistan, according to pollsters.

The main opposition Congress party has sought allies among regional parties to defeat the BJP over its economic record.