Motilal Oswal
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Motilal Oswal
Politics

Lok Sabha Elections: The journey of Indian ballots — by boat, afoot, atop hills

Updated : April 17, 2019 12:35 PM IST

Election officials sailed boats and ships, trekked through dense forest and summited mountains to carry voting machines to even the most remote parts of India for national elections. The mammoth vote that began on April 11 ends May 19, and counting will he held on May 23. In most places, the atmosphere was festive during the phase I elections with men and women in colorful traditional attire heading to voting stations to cast ballots on electronic voting machines. The elections are widely seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has been credited by supporters with India's booming economy but criticised for engendering anti-Muslim sentiment. With 900 million of India's 1.3 billion people registered to vote, it is the world's largest democratic exercise, and the largest-ever election. Over the seven phases of voting, 543 Lok Sahba seats will be decided at about a million polling stations across India.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters cheer at an election campaign rally in Hyderabad, India. (AP Photo/ Mahesh Kumar A)
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters cheer at an election campaign rally in Hyderabad, India. (AP Photo/ Mahesh Kumar A)
Young men walk past a wall with an election awareness message in Hyderabad, India. (AP Photo/ Mahesh Kumar A)
Young men walk past a wall with an election awareness message in Hyderabad, India. (AP Photo/ Mahesh Kumar A)
Workers remove banners with pictures of candidates from election campaigning vehicles as part of enforcing election laws in Hyderabad, India. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A)
Workers remove banners with pictures of candidates from election campaigning vehicles as part of enforcing election laws in Hyderabad, India. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A)
Polling officials check electronic voting machines before leaving for their polling booths in Jammu, India. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Polling officials check electronic voting machines before leaving for their polling booths in Jammu, India. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi, center in white, accompanied by his sister Priyanka Vadra in red arrives to file his nomination papers for the upcoming general elections in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh state, India. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi, center in white, accompanied by his sister Priyanka Vadra in red arrives to file his nomination papers for the upcoming general elections in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh state, India. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
In this April 10, 2019, photo, election officials and paramilitary soldiers with election materials board on a country boat to cross the river Brahmaputra on the eve of the first phase of the general election in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 10, 2019, photo, election officials and paramilitary soldiers with election materials board on a country boat to cross the river Brahmaputra on the eve of the first phase of the general election in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 10, 2019, photo,  election officials and paramilitary soldiers with election materials walk along the river Brahmaputra to board on a country boat on the eve of the first phase of the general election in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 10, 2019, photo,  election officials and paramilitary soldiers with election materials walk along the river Brahmaputra to board on a country boat on the eve of the first phase of the general election in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 10, 2019, photo, polling officials wait to receive electronic voting machines and voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) on the eve of the first phase of the general election in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 10, 2019, photo, polling officials wait to receive electronic voting machines and voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) on the eve of the first phase of the general election in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 10, 2019, photo, polling officials check their electronic voting machines and voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) before being deployed to a polling station on the eve of the first phase of the general election in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 10, 2019, photo, polling officials check their electronic voting machines and voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) before being deployed to a polling station on the eve of the first phase of the general election in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 11, 2019, photo, Kashmiri voters stand in a queue to cast their votes outside a polling station at Shadipora, outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)
In this April 11, 2019, photo, Kashmiri voters stand in a queue to cast their votes outside a polling station at Shadipora, outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)
In this April 11, 2019, photo, polling officer puts indelible ink mark on the index finger of a voter during the first phase of general elections in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 11, 2019, photo, polling officer puts indelible ink mark on the index finger of a voter during the first phase of general elections in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 11, 2019, photo, Mishing tribal women show the indelible ink marks on their index fingers after casting their votes in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 11, 2019, photo, Mishing tribal women show the indelible ink marks on their index fingers after casting their votes in Majuli, Assam, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this April 10, 2019, photo, polling officers collect election materials for the first phase of general elections, in Ghaziabad, outskirts of New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
In this April 10, 2019, photo, polling officers collect election materials for the first phase of general elections, in Ghaziabad, outskirts of New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
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