The Union (Parliamentary) elections have begun in India as Indians started to vote in the first phase of the process on Thursday.
India has roughly 900 million eligible voters (people over the age of 18) across the country, this is the largest election ever seen.
Tens of millions of Indians across 20 states and union territories will cast their votes in 91 constituencies in the first phase. Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar islands and Lakshadweep are the states headed to poll.
The elections are going to be conducted in a seven-phase process.
The elections for the lower house of parliament will continue until 19 May while counting day is 23 May.
Indian prime minister incumbent Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won in the last general elections in 2014.
The Indian Lok Sabha, or lower house of parliament has 543 elected seats and in order to form a government, any party or coalition needs a minimum of 272 MPs.
BJP this time has a tough competition that it faces from regional parties and the Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi. Gandhi’s father, grandmother and great-grandfather served as former Indian prime ministers.
The electoral management and infrastructure is mammoth, with no voter having to go beyond 2km from their residence to cast their ballot. It is chiefly because of the huge number of polling booths and official requirement that elections are conducted in phases.