India ends six-week national election

Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party are expected to win.
By Ed Adamczyk  |  May 12, 2014 at 2:47 PM
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NEW DELHI, May 12 (UPI) -- India's six-week national election, with 814 million eligible voters, ended Monday, with polls favoring a change of leadership when results are announced Friday.

The election in the world's largest democracy was conducted in phases over six weeks, and observers expect Hindu nationalist challenger Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party to be chosen as India's new prime minister. Modi and his party were the chief opponents of Arvind Kejriwal of India's anti-corruption party, and Ajay Rai of the Congress Party. The Congress Party has been in power for 10 years and has prompted dissatisfaction over growth and economic matters. A Pew Research Center poll noted 63 percent of Indians preferred the BJP over the Congress Party.

India's Election Committee reported on May 8 that 66.27 percent of eligible voters in 502 parliamentary constituencies voted -- an increase from 58.13 percent in the 2009 election.

Elections in India are considered fair, with incumbents often falling to defeat, although sporadic violence has been reported, most notably when voting opened in West Bengal State. Four people were wounded in a shooting, and a Communist Party of India spokesman accused workers for the governing Trinamool Congress of firing upon his party supporters.

If Modi wins, he will replace Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 81.

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