The 8,000 polling stations in the remote, northeastern part of India opened at 7 a.m. Monday, with chief electoral officials noting a 72.5 percent turnout in upper Assam, and 83 percent in Tripura, by the time polls closed in the afternoon.
The national elections, which run until May 12, are expected to draw over 800 million voters. The votes will be counted May 16.
The vote is seen as historic, with the ruling Indian National Congress government on the defensive. Opinion surveys show many voters prefer the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, as India’s growing middle class is disappointed with corruption and ineffective public services of the current government, in power for the past ten years.
For the first time, social media is playing a crucial role in Indian voting, and the Bharatiya Janata Party has found popularity in crucial demographic groups, including rural and younger voters.
[New York Times]