India concludes key regional polls as general election looms

India concludes key regional polls as general election looms 

An Indian woman shows her ink-marked finger after casting her vote at a polling station in the paniyala village of Kotputli, Rajasthan, India, Dec. 07, 2018. EPA-EFE/RAJAT GUPTA

New Delhi, Dec 7 (efe-epa).- India concluded a supercharged election season, ahead of a national election due by May next year, as two major states – Rajasthan and Telangana – went to the polls on Friday to elect a new assembly.

The last leg of the election season saw more than 130 million Indians voting in five states – Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram, along with Rajasthan and Telangana – between Nov. 12 to Dec. 7, in a major test of voter confidence for the ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Today is the day of voting in Rajasthan. I urge all voters of the state to participate in (the assembly elections) with full enthusiasm and in huge numbers,” Modi had said on Twitter.

“To the people of Rajasthan, remember your vote is your power. Today your vote can bring about incredible change to your state, so vote wisely,” tweeted the Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi.

According to the Election Commission of India, Rajasthan will elect lawmakers to 199 of the 200 seats of its state assembly from more than 2,000 candidates.

Elections were postponed in Alwar district, following the death of a candidate.

The BJP currently controls a majority of the regional assemblies with over 100 seats, followed by the opposition Congress Party, who controls a little over 20.

According to the Election Commission, in Rajasthan 47,479,402 people had registered to vote in 32,574 polling stations, while in Telangana 26,136,776 voters were called to the polls.

The votes in Telangana and Rajasthan represent almost 10 percent of voters countrywide.

Polling will conclude at 5.00 pm on Friday and final results will be declared on Dec. 11.

This is the last major electoral battle in India before the general election in 2019 when Modi would be seeking a second term in office.