GENERAL ELECTIONS IN INDIA
FESTIVAL OF DEMOCRACY
1. India will hold a general election starting April 11 in the world’s largest democratic exercise.
2. The election will be conducted in seven phases until May 19 and votes will be counted on May 23.
3. Around 900 million people are eligible to vote, which is nearly the combined population of the whole of Europe and Brazil. About 432 million of them are women voters.
4. The process is conducted by the Election Commission of India (ECI), an autonomous constitutional authority, with a staff of more than 300 full-time officials at its headquarters in New Delhi.
5. The ECI has set up about 1 million polling stations in the country, as no voter should be more than 2 km away from a polling station.
6. For such a mammoth exercise, over 5 million government officials and security forces are deployed , travelling by foot, road, special train, helicopter, boat, and sometimes, elephant to access remote areas.
7. The contest is for 543 of the 545 seats in the Lok Sabha. The remaining two seats are reserved for the Anglo-Indian community, who are nominated by the President of India.
8. In the last Indian election in 2014, there were more than 830 million registered voters, with about 8,251 candidates from 464 political parties.
9. In the 2009 general election, the ECI set up a polling station in the Gir forest of Gujarat, home to Asiatic lions, just for one voter.
10. The voting takes place in multiple phases, typically taking more than a month to allow officials and security forces to re-deploy, and the counting for all 543 constituencies is done in a single day.