India elections: Two dead in violent clashes as Indian voters take to the polls

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Around 900 million people are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest election. People in 20 states and union territories will vote for candidates in 91 constituencies. Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also fighting to win a second term with his ruling nationalist National Democratic Alliance, which is led by the BJP Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Votes will be counted on May 23 after the seven-phase vote for the new lower house of parliament will end on May 19. 

But as the first phase started on Thursday, a party worker from the Telugu Desam Party and one from YSR Congress were killed during violence in a village in the Tadipatri assembly constituency in the Anantapurami district. 

There have also been complaints from many voters about their names being on the electoral list, as well as glitches with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).

Delhi chief minister Kejriwal vented his rage on Twitter as he tagged people who said their names had been deleted from voter lists. 

He wrote: “Anti-BJP votes deleted all across India. 

“Reports coming from all across India that votes have been deleted on unprecedented scale. 

“Why are all faulty EVM machines seen to be voting always for BJP?”

Meanwhile, businessman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said his mother’s vote was not counted either.

He said to the Times of India: “My mother’s voter ID has been deleted on some flimsy excuse that there was a report that she no longer lives at her address.

“She is so upset I can’t tell you because she has been at the same address for 19 years. So much for ‘verification’.” 

The main opposition party Congress is battling against the BJP by teaming up with smaller parties in some regions. 

But concerns have been raised over the safety of its president, Rahul Gandhi, as the party said there could have been an attempt to assassinate him this week when he met reporters in his Nehru-Gandhi family’s home district in Uttar Pradesh.

As voting began today, Prime Minister Modi said the mood was firmly in favour of his National Democratic Alliance.

He said on Twitter: “NDA’s aim is – development, more development and all-round development.”

Congress, which promised jobs and “Love over Hate”, wrested three key states from the BJP in state polls in December by promising to get rid of the outstanding loans of struggling farmers.

Polls have shown the BJP have the advantage, the party failing on its promise to tackle growing unemployment and weak farm incomes in rural areas, which his home to two-thirds of Indians. 

The Election Commission told a news conference that by 5pm, an hour before polling closed, voter participation was highest in the eastern state of West Bengal at almost 81 percent.

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