INTRODUCTION India's population went to the polls on Wednesday (16 March) in a general election that presented the ruling Congress Party with its biggest challenge in 30 years.
GV Parliament House in Delhi
SV Voting banners and placards in streets (4 shots)
SV People arriving to vote
SV INT People casting votes (6 shots)
SV Voter leaving cubicle and placing vote in box
SVs Woman with child receiving voting papers and entering cubicle (2 shots)
SV Voters casting votes
SV EXT Crippled man arriving to vote
SV INT Voters being marked with indelible ink and checked off voting list (3 shots)
GV EXT Queue outside polling station
EUROVISION SATELLITE TELERECORDING
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Background: INTRODUCTION India's population went to the polls on Wednesday (16 March) in a general election that presented the ruling Congress Party with its biggest challenge in 30 years.
SYNOPSIS: Voting was reported to be heavy throughout the country, with poll officials estimating that the turnout would be much higher than the 55 per cent of eligible people who voted in the 1971 elections. Altogether 318 million Indians are entitled to vote in the general election. About 190 million of these had to vote on Wednesday, while the rest will cast their votes on the following four days. Counting will not start until Sunday (20 March). Polling was completed in 300 of the 542 Lok Sabha (Lower House) seats on Wednesday, and officials said it had been mostly quiet. There were only a few isolated incidents of violence and intimidation from some areas.
The high turnout is expected to favour the opposition parties, and the general secretary of the opposition Janata Party said the voters' response had surpassed his party's expectations. The Congress Party, currently led by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has traditionally performed worse at elections with high polling levels. Mrs. Gandhi faced a hard fight in her own electorate of Rae Bareli from her Janata opponent Mr. Raj Narain while ???.
At the last election in 1971, the Congress Party won 352 of the 524 seats in the lower house, but seem likely to have their majority reduced in the current election. Party officials, however, say they will do even better than that.