India heads to polling stations for first of seven phases of its 18th Parliamentary elections


(MENAFN) As India embarks on its 18th Parliamentary elections, a monumental democratic exercise unfolds, captivating the attention of the world. With a staggering 968 million eligible voters—surpassing the combined populations of the European Union, United States, and Russia—India's electoral process epitomizes the essence of democracy on a grand scale.

Spanning seven phases until June 4, the elections will determine the composition of India's lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, and ultimately, the country's next prime minister.

The Lok Sabha, comprising 543 seats, holds significant power, ranging from lawmaking to financial control and oversight of the government's actions.

In this democratic spectacle, the party or coalition securing a majority in the Lok Sabha earns the mandate to form the government and appoint the prime minister. Notably, former prime ministers like Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda have hailed from the upper house, the Rajya Sabha, showcasing the flexibility of India's political landscape.

The term of service for members of the Lok Sabha spans five years, with provisions for mid-term elections in exceptional circumstances. To govern effectively, a party or coalition must secure a minimum of 272 seats, although instances like former PM PV Narasimha Rao's minority government underscore the nuances of India's political dynamics.

At the forefront of this electoral battle is the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), facing off against a diverse coalition of over a dozen opposition parties, including the storied Indian National Congress. With a legacy spanning more than 50 years of governance, the Congress party represents a formidable challenger in India's vibrant political landscape.

As the electoral saga unfolds, the world watches with bated breath, witnessing democracy in action on an unparalleled scale. From rural villages to bustling cities, millions of Indian citizens exercise their fundamental right to vote, shaping the destiny of the world's largest democracy and determining the course of its future.

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