Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Second phase of voting begins; Summer heat to affect voter turnout


Friday, 26 April 2024 (10:24 IST)
The second phase of voting for India's 2024 general elections began on Friday, amid intense campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition INDIA alliance to appeal to voters.
Eligible voters in some 88 constituencies across 13 states — Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur and Tripura —  lined up outside polling stations in parts of the country hit by a scorching heatwave.
India's 2024 general election, the largest democratic exercise in the world, began on April 19 and ends on June 1. Results are expected by June 4. Nearly a billion people are eligible to vote.
Gandhi hoping to hold onto his Wayanad seat
Modi hopes to win a third successive term as voters elect 543 members of the Lok Sabha, India's lower house of parliament. 
His BJP party is up against the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (India), which includes opposition leader Rahul Gandhi's Congress Party.
The focus on Friday will be on the southern states of Karnataka and Kerala.
Karnataka is one of the BJP's only strongholds in southern India, but the state went to the opposition in the state assembly elections.
Gandhi — the great-grandson of India's first prime minister and one of PM Modi's strongest critics — is seeking re-election from Wayanad in Kerala. It has been a Congress bastion for the last two decades. 
Summer heat to affect voter turnout
Political parties have been worried about voter turnout due to the intense summer heat and wedding season in some parts of the country.
A wave of sweltering weather from South and Southeast Asia has prompted thousands of schools in Bangladesh and the Philippines to suspend in-person classes.
Indian Roads Minister Nitin Gadkari fainted at a rally for Modi in the western state of Maharashtra on April 24.
Earlier this week, India's Election Commission said it had formed a task force to review the impact of heatwaves and humidity on voter turnout.
Voter turnout in the first phase on April 19 was 65% compared to 70% in 2019.
The Election Commission, however, said it had "no major concern" about the impact of hot temperatures on Friday's vote. 
Both Modi and Gandhi urged Indians to go to the polls. 

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