With 900 million eligible voters, India’s election will be the largest the world has seen. PM Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP will be battling the main opposition Congress and a host of regional parties.
Before the election begins, here are interesting things about the world’s largest electorate and the poll machinery:
* This time, more than 900 million people above the age of 18 are expected to cast their ballots at a million polling stations. Of the total electorate, 15 million will be in the age group of 18 to 19 years
* The turnout in the last general election in 2014 was more than 66%, up from 45% in 1951 when the first election was held.
* Women will be voting in large numbers. So much so, that more women are likely to vote than men this time around, the first time ever in a general election.
* The vote gender gap has already shrunk – in 2014, the turnout of women was 65.3% against 67.1% for men.
* 10 lakh polling stations would be set up as against about 9 lakh in 2014.
* The Voter-verifiable paper audit trails (VVPAT) will be used in all polling stations this time.
* The EVMs and postal ballot papers would carry the photograph of all candidates to help voters identify the political leaders in the fray.
* For the first time in Lok Sabha polls, candidates with criminal antecedents are required to publish information in this regard in newspapers and through television channels on three occasions during the campaign period.
* A political party that sets up candidates with criminal antecedents is also required to publish information about their criminal background, both on its website and also in newspapers and television channels on three different occasions
* All political advertisements on social media will need pre-certification.