Largest-Ever Election Begins-With a Death

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption India is holding elections in 2019

Voters line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the first phase of general election in Alipurduar District in the eastern state of West Bengal, India, on Thursday.

Pakistan's Premier Imran Khan has said he believes there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party BJP wins the general elections.

At least 2,354 political parties are registered with the Election Commission of India - an autonomous constitutional body - for the 17th Lok Sabha elections. Shops and schools were closed in the disputed region of Kashmir and roads mostly clear of traffic after separatists called a strike against the election.

With final turnout figures for Thursday yet to come, the Election Commission told a news conference that by 5 p.m., an hour before polling closed, voter participation was highest in the eastern state of West Bengal at nearly 81 percent.

In the northeastern state of Assam, queues started forming well before voting opened, including numerous 84 million first-time voters who could play a decisive role in the outcome.

The Congress and JD-S have fielded joint candidates in all the 28 seats in the ratio of 21:7 under a seat-sharing arrangement.

As many as 22 lakh jobs in the government sector, ten lakh jobs in panchayats, 33 per cent quota for women in central government jobs and reservation in Parliament and state legislatures were among other key assurances.

Surveys show the ruling party projected to come out first again in this year's polls, though with a smaller mandate.

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"He's improved India's global standing and taken revenge against the enemies of the country", Sachin Tyagi, 38, a mobile phone shop owner, said near a polling station in Uttar Pradesh, which sends the most lawmakers to the lower house of parliament among all states.

40-year-old Faimudadin, a Muslim voter in Gaziabad on New Delhi's outskirts says he has voted for a change in government.

The report continued: In particular, there is deep resentment in the top echelons of the Indian civil service over the interference in government by the Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh (RSS), the Hindu right-wing umbrella group of which the BJP is a part, these officials said. High unemployment is another concern. According to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy, employment contracted by 3.5 million jobs in the year following a 2016 demonetization program to remove most of India's banknotes from circulation.

His critics also say the Hindu nationalism of his BHP party has fanned religious tensions in India where Hindus make up about 80% of the population.

A suicide bomb blast killed Gandhi's father, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, during election campaigning in 1991. That's when polls opened on the first day of voting in Indian elections. Armed police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gears guarded polling stations and nearby roads.

After the polls closed, violence broke out.

Hitting out at BJP, he said they obviously have not read the history of the Tamil people. The special status prevents outsiders from buying property in the territory.

"I specially urge young and first-time voters to vote in large numbers", he said. "They've taken our rights; now they want to dispossess us from our land". "We want development. I've voted for development".

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