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India Commences Second Phase of National Elections; BJP Maintains Lead

Indian voters standing in line at a polling station during national elections
Millions of Indians queue up to exercise their right to vote in the national elections.

New Delhi: The second phase of India’s multi-phase national elections commenced Friday, drawing millions of voters to polling stations across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is at the forefront of the electoral race, banking on its Hindu nationalist agenda to secure victory.

High Voter Turnout Expected

Voting began at 7 a.m., with people queuing up outside polling stations. Turnout is anticipated to escalate throughout the day. The outcome of Friday’s polling, encompassing 88 constituencies across 13 states, holds significant implications for Modi’s BJP, particularly in its strongholds like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

Key Contenders

The BJP faces a formidable challenge from a coalition led by the Indian National Congress and influential regional parties. Notable candidates include Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, contesting from the Wayanad constituency in Kerala for the second time, and BJP luminaries such as Bollywood star Hema Malini and actor Arun Govil, known for his portrayal of Lord Ram in a popular 1987 television series.

Modi’s Call to Voters

Narendra Modi addressing a crowd during an election rally on April 14, 2024 in Mysuru, India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a crowd during an election rally on April 14, 2024 in Mysuru, India. Abhishek Chinnappa—Getty Images

Prime Minister Modi urged citizens, particularly the youth and women, to exercise their franchise vigorously. In a message on the social media platform X, he emphasized the importance of voting in bolstering democracy.

Electoral Dynamics

The BJP secured an early victory in Gujarat’s Surat constituency, where its candidate prevailed uncontested after disqualifications and withdrawals by rival candidates. With nearly 970 million eligible voters participating in the staggered elections, which extend until June 1, the electoral process culminates in the counting of votes on June 4.

Analysts’ Perspectives

Despite some observers noting a degree of voter apathy, political analysts affirm the BJP’s dominant position. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, an Indian political scientist, attributes the subdued enthusiasm to the widely anticipated victory for Modi’s party.

Controversies Surrounding the Election

Critics accuse the BJP of undermining India’s secular fabric since assuming power, alleging religious intolerance and violence. Modi sparked controversy with remarks suggesting the Congress party would distribute wealth to specific demographics if elected. The Congress party, in turn, challenged Modi’s statements, prompting investigations by election authorities.


As the election progresses, the BJP maintains its position as the frontrunner, propelled by Modi’s assertive brand of politics. With India’s diverse electorate poised to shape the country’s political landscape, the electoral process unfolds against a backdrop of heightened scrutiny and contentious debate.

Gangtokian Web Team, 26/04/2024

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