INTRODUCTION: India's election commission has ordered a partial re-poll in six more constituencies after charges of ballot-rigging on the first day of general elections on Wednesday (16 March).
INTRODUCTION: India's election commission has ordered a partial re-poll in six more constituencies after charges of ballot-rigging on the first day of general elections on Wednesday (16 March). The commissions had already ordered fresh voting at 18 other polling stations. The second round of voting began on Friday (18 March) mainly in two key northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
SYNOPSIS: Early reports said voting was largely peaceful and orderly with an unusually heavy turn-out. Some 30 million people were eligible to vote for candidates in 65 seats. In the Uttar Pradesh state capital of Lucknow, an aunt of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was standing against a former member of the ruling Congress Party. Mrs. Sheila Kaul won the seat for Congress in the 1971 election with a large majority. However she is facing strong opposition now from Mr. Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, a former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. He resigned from Congress, along with ex-Agricultural Minister Jagjivan Ram, in February to form the opposition Congress for Democracy (CFD) Party.
All election campaigning has now officially finished although voting will not be completed until Sunday (20 March) night. Prime Minister Gandhi has had a punishing campaign schedule. She has addressed an average of ten meetings a day for the last three weeks.
During that period she spent just four hours in her own constituency of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh. But Mrs. Gandhi has not visited the nearby seat of Amethi where her son Sanjay is standing. Political analyst think the election outcome will be largely decided by the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar voters who elect more than a quarter of the parliament.