Indians go to vote today with the term of the current Lok Sabha expiring on June 1 and the new House having to be constituted by May 31 2014. Polling to elect 543 members to the Lok Sabha will be spread over nine days, between April 7 and May 12 and may be spread over seven phases involving a 814 million strong electorate.
With most opinion polls indicating a defeat for the Congress-led UPA coalition of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a decade in office, an aggressive Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is confident of ushering in a political makeover. But many analyst feel there will be a hung parliament, and any new government will be an alliance of national and regional parties, a trend since the 1990s.
The first phase of voting will take place on April 7 2014 in two states in six of the total 543 constituencies. Seven constituencies spread over five states will see balloting on April 9 2014 and 92 constituencies in 14 states on 10 April. From April 17 to May 12 2014, there will be six more rounds of polling, from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu, and from Rajasthan bordering Pakistan to the North Eastern states bordering China and Myanmar. The votes will be counted on May 16 2014.
Voting would be done countrywide through electronic voting machines (EVMs).