Indian Elections: High Stakes for BJP as Polling in Three States Underway
08:02 GMT 14.02.2022 (Updated: 19:51 GMT 31.10.2022)
Election in three Indian states, currently governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are being seen as a litmus test for the Narendra Modi-led federal government's policies and popularity that opposition parties have been regularly targeting.
More than 30 million voters on Monday are set to elect a new government in the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Goa, while in Uttar Pradesh votes are being cast in the second phase of elections there.
Since early morning large numbers of voters have reportedly started queuing up outside polling stations to exercise their vote.
Narendra Modi also took to Twitter urging voters of all three states to cast their ballots and "strengthen the festival of democracy".
All of the nation's important political parties — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — and leaders such as Narendra Modi, federal Home Minister Amit Shah, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Delhi State Chief and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, and other key politicians have actively campaigned in these states.
In the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, voting is being held for 70 assembly seats in over 13 districts. As many as 632 candidates, including 152 independents, are in the fray.
The Election Commission of India shared a photograph of a 100-year-old man who came to vote early Monday morning.
A total of 301 candidates will contest 40 assembly seats in the coastal state Goa, according to the Indian news agency Press Trust of India
. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) that governs West Bengal is also contesting polls for first time in this state.
Polling in both states will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a single phase.
Polling for 55 constituencies in nine Uttar Pradesh districts is being held between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Indian Time). Most of these districts have been strongholds of the current opposition party Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav, a former state chief.
The results of all the state assembly elections will be declared on 10 March
The Uttar Pradesh polls are perhaps the most keenly contested and politically significant as the state has the largest number of parliamentary seats and is also the country's most populous state.
"First Vote and Then Breakfast", wrote one social media user when posting a photo of a queue at a polling station.
Elections in other parts of the state will be held on 20, 23, 27 February, and 3 and 7 March.
Heavy security arrangements have been made in all three states to maintain law and order during the polling.