20 defining pictures of India’s 2019 Parliamentary elections

India, which is days away from foming a new government, has begun polling from today.

Over 900 million people — triple the entire population of the United States—are expected to cast their vote to form a new government after five years. During the last elections in 2014, 850 million people were eligible to vote and over 550 million people participated in the polling process.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is re-running the election to contest against India’s leading opposition Indian National Congress. Several other parties in various states are in the fray including Aam Aadmi Party, All India Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party and Samajwadi party.

As of March 2019, India had 2,293 political parties including seven national parties.

Here’s a glimpse at the major events that have taken place thus far in the Indian elections:

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​Narendra Modi

​Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra is again the frontman for the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party. The former Gujarat chief minister, known for his strongman politics, is gunning for another Modi wave, and has already touted infrastructure schemes and wooed India’s Hindus with a promise of building a Ram temple, dedicated the mythical Hindu deity.

Priyanka Gandhi joins politics

Priyanka Gandhi joins politics

In January, Priyanka Gandhi, the grand daughter of former PM Indira Gandhi and great grand daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, joined active Indian politics. She was appointed the general secretary of INC’s UP east, the main constituency of PM Modi.

Farmers

Farmers

Both BJP and Congress have a huge focus on Indian farmers with both announcing welfare schemes to address the agrarian crisis following several marches by farmers protesting government schemes.

​Jobs

​Jobs

Rising unemployment is one of the key issues top of mind for many voters. A recent leaked government report put unemployment at its highest in 45 years.

Criminals

Criminals

About 146 out of 1266 candidates facing the elections have declared that they have serious criminal cases against themselves.

​Anti-Modi Coalition

​Anti-Modi Coalition

Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati on Saturday announced their alliance for the Lok Sabha Election to take down Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party

​Similar promises

​Similar promises

For the first time two major political parties, the Indian National Congress (INC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have included climate change in their manifesto. Both parties wants to make India a manufacturing hub and eradicate poverty by providing a minimum income.

​Chowkidar

​Chowkidar

In March, several BJP ministers including PM Modi added the prefix ‘Chowkidar’ (watchman) to their Twitter handles, in response to allegations of corruption by opposition parties.

​Balakot

​Balakot

An attack on India’s security forces in Kashmir became a flash point for relations between India and Pakistan bringing the two on the brink of war in February. The rise in nationalist sentiments since then tilted the scales in favour of the BJP.

​India got its first openly gay politician

​India got its first openly gay politician

LGBTQ Activists, Harish Iyer, officially joined Indian National Congress

​Women participation

​Women participation

In 2014, nearly 21 million women did not exercise their right to vote because they weren’t registered as a voter..However, Women are likely to play a decisive role in the upcoming general elections as their voting participation is likely to be higher than that of men in the 2019 polls, a Centrum report said.

Wooing India's youth

Wooing India's youth

15 million first time voters between the age of 18 and 19 are expected to vote this election. Several parties have gone all out to persuade the country’s youth.

​Wackiest election symbols

​Wackiest election symbols

From Kamal Hassan’s torch to ceiling, there were several bizarre election symbols in use this year. India has been using symbols for decades when a large part of its electorate could not read.

​Writers and intellectuals protest

​Writers and intellectuals protest

Several prominent writers, artists and intellectuals have come together urging the country’s youth to vote against politics of hate. Separately, 108 economists and social scientists penned an open letter expressing their anguish over the Modi administration’s “political interference”with respect to economic data and statistical institutions like the CSO and NSSO.

Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi

A London court has issued an arrest warrant against Diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who had been accused in a $2 billion PNB scam, for his extradition from UK.

​The number of seats in the Lok Sabha

​The number of seats in the Lok Sabha

The number of seats in the Lok Sabha hasn’t changed since 1976, when an amendment to the Constitution Act imposed a hold on the readjustment of seats as per figures from the latest Census. This might seem like a lot of seats, but considering India’s population is 1.34 billion, each seat accounts for nearly 1.6 million Indians.

Election Funding

Election Funding

BJP got the most amount of political donations. According to a recent report, the party seems to have accumulated a donation of $2.1 billion through electoral bonds.

​Crorepatis

​Crorepatis

A total number of 1266 candidates have been approved by the EC to face the election from these different constituencies in India.

​Rafale

​Rafale

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous judgment, on Wednesday rejected the preliminary objections raised by the Central government and as a result, will hear the Rafale review petitions on merits. The court will also look into the published documents.

Star Power

Star Power

Star powerIndian cricketer Gautam Gambhir joined BJP in March. Several Bollywood personalities are also in the fray including veteran actor Urmila Matondkar and Kamal Haasan.

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