Facts and figures for India’s 2014 general election
Voting in the 2014 election begins on April 7. More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — will be eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.
Voting will be held in 10 stages, which will be staggered until May 12, and results are due to be announced on May 16. Elections to state assemblies in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will be held simultaneously.
Around 930,000 polling stations will be set up for the month-long election using electronic voting machines, first introduced in 2004.
Uttar Pradesh has the most eligible voters (134 million); Sikkim the lowest (about 362,000). Male voters constitute 52.4 percent of the electorate but women voters outnumber men in eight regions — Puducherry, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram, Daman & Diu, Meghalaya, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh.
About 23 million eligible voters have been enrolled in the 18 to 19 age group, nearly 3 percent of India’s voters.
Of India’s 814.5 million eligible voters, 28,314 identify themselves as transgender and their gender is listed as “other”. There are 11,844 non-resident Indians registered to vote in the election this year.
Since introducing photo voter ID cards and electoral rolls in 2009, 98 percent of India’s eligible voters have the former, 96 percent have the latter.
Electronic voting machine security includes: transported under armed escort and stored in strong rooms, with a double lock system and guarded 24×7 by armed police, and CCTV coverage. Also, parties/candidates allowed to keep a watch on them.
Nearly 10 million officials (including police for security) will be deployed.
Uttar Pradesh has the most Lok Sabha seats (80) while the states of Nagaland, Sikkim, Mizoram and the union territories have one seat each.
A candidate can spend up to 7 million rupees ($116,350) for his election campaign in Delhi and all states except Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Sikkim. For these states and other union territories, the limit is 5.4 million rupees ($90,000).
A candidate for the Lok Sabha makes a deposit of 25,000 rupees ($415) at the time of filing the nomination. If the candidate fails to get a sixth of the total valid votes polled, this amount is forfeited. Nearly 85 percent of the candidates lost their security deposit in the 2009 election.
In the 15th Lok Sabha, around 78 percent of the members have a graduate, post-graduate degree or a doctorate.
Malkajgiri in Andhra Pradesh is the biggest Indian constituency in terms of voters with around 2.95 million electors; Lakshadweep is the smallest with 47,972 voters. In Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh, Hukani polling station has 22 registered voters. Officials travel 22 km on foot to get there.
In the 2009 election, 363 political parties took part. The Bahujan Samaj Party contested the maximum number of seats (500 out of 543), followed by the Congress (440) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (433).
The last general election had a voter turnout of over 58 percent. Nagaland (89.99 percent) had the highest turnout while Jammu & Kashmir (39.68 percent) saw the lowest.
Namo Narain of the Congress party beat his BJP rival by 317 votes in Rajasthan’s Tonk Sawai Madhopur constituency — the smallest margin of victory in the 2009 election.
“Basic Minimum Facilities” for polling stations include drinking water, shed, toilet, ramp for disabled voters.
Voters will have a “None of the Above” option on voting machines.
The indelible election ink that is applied while electors cast their votes is manufactured by Mysore Paints & Varnish Limited, a Karnataka government undertaking.
Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party has emerged as the favourite in opinion polls, which reflect waning support for Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party that wrested power from the BJP in 2004.
Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, will also be challenged by a clutch of regional parties that are vying for power as part of a “third front” opposed to both the Congress and the BJP.
Also in the race is Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, which made a stunning debut in Delhi elections last year and is now eyeing a national presence on the anti-corruption plank.
Here’s a look at the election schedule, and the states and union territories going to polls:
April 7 (six constituencies) – Assam, Tripura
April 9 (six constituencies) – Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland
April 10(91 constituencies) – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar islands, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, Delhi
April 11 (One constituency) – Mizoram
April 12 (seven constituencies) – Assam, Sikkim, Tripura, Goa
April 17 (121 constituencies) – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal
April 24 (117 constituencies) – Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Puducherry
April 30 (89 constituencies) – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu
May 7 (64 constituencies) – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal
May 12 (41 constituencies) – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal
MORE ON THE ELECTION
The new Lok Sabha is expected to be constituted by June 1 with 543 lawmakers chosen from across India. Of these, 131 seats are reserved for candidates from the country’s scheduled castes and tribes.
Two other lawmakers can be appointed to the Lok Sabha by the president to ensure the representation of India’s tiny Anglo-Indian community, taking the total number of lawmakers to 545.
A political party needs to secure at least 272 seats to form the government.
(Editing by Tony Tharakan and Robert MacMillan; Follow Tony on Twitter @TonyTharakan, Robert @bobbymacreports and @ Shashank @shashankchouhan | This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)
(This post was first published on March 5, 2014 | Additional updates by Vipin Das M.)