MUMBAI/NEW DELHI : Some of India’s richest families and Bollywood stars voted early yesterday in Mumbai and elsewhere in the country as the fourth phase of a massive, staggered general election got underway.
More than 127 million people are eligible to vote in this round of the seven-phase election held across 71 seats in nine states.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s coalition won more than 75 per cent of the seats in the previous election in 2014.
Many of the constituencies are in Uttar Pradesh state in the north and western India’s Maharashtra, where the financial capital Mumbai is located.
Uttar Pradesh elects the most MPs, with Maharashtra next, and both states are ruled by Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
However, political analysts say the BJP may struggle to repeat its strong showing this time due mainly to a jobs shortage and weak farm prices, issues upon which the main opposition Congress Party has seized.
Mumbai, which has six seats, is India’s wealthiest city but ageing and insufficient infrastructure is a major concern.
Six people were killed last month when part of a pedestrian bridge collapsed.
It is also home to the massive Hindi film industry, as well as Asia’s richest man, Mr Mukesh Ambani, and India’s richest banker, Mr Uday Kotak.
Mr Ambani, who heads Reliance Industries, and Mr Kotak, managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, created a stir this month by publicly endorsing a Congress candidate from their upscale South Mumbai constituency.
The last phase of voting is on May 19, with results released four days later. – REUTERS
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