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66% voter turnout in 3rd phase of India elections

66% voter turnout in 3rd phase of India elections

Reuters
NEW DELHI
Millions of Indians voted in the third and largest phase of a staggered general election on Tuesday, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi who cast his ballot in his home state of Gujarat and again underlined his focus on combating terrorism.
In all, 188 million Indians are eligible to vote in 117 constituencies on Tuesday, across 15 states and federally controlled territories. Voting in 303 parliament seats out of a total of 545 have been completed so far.
About 66 percent of those eligible had voted by the end of the day’s voting, according to the interim figures from the election commission.
The general election, which has seven phases, began on April 11 and will end on May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23. “This is, sort of, an inflection point,” said Rahul Verma, a fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, a New Delhi-based think-tank. More than half of constituencies will have voted by the end of the third phase.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has aggressively pushed Modi’s national security record as it seeks to deflect opposition accusations of economic mismanagement, inadequate job creation and widespread farm distress. “I think job creation, sustainable development, and communal harmony should be the top priorities for the upcoming government,” said Ubaidullah Mohyideen, 26, voting in southern Kerala state’s Wayanad district, one of the two seats that opposition Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi is contesting.
Violence flared in the eastern state of West Bengal and one Congress worker was killed and at least three people were injured, a state deputy chief election officer, Sanjay Bose, said.
A Congress spokesman said the worker had been killed in a clash with supporters of a regional party called the Trinamool Congress, which denied that assertion. The election commission said it was investigating.
In Kerala, leaders of three political parties complained about electronic voting machine (EVM) malfunctions, but an election commission official said glitches were not widespread and there were enough replacement machines.
On Monday, Modi addressed a rally in western Maharashtra state and mentioned the attacks on Sri Lankan hotels and churches on Easter Sunday that killed 321 people and wounded about 500. He said India’s security had been enhanced after his government came to power in 2014.

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