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Heavy voter turnout marks first day of major voting in India

Published on Apr 10, 2014 11:32 PM
Men stand in a line to cast their vote outside a polling station during the general election, in Shahpur in Muzaffarnagar district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on April 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - A sharp increase in voter turnout was seen on the first major day of India's marathon national election, with the capital New Delhi a key battleground for an anti-corruption party which shot to fame last year.

Almost a fifth of parliament's 543 seats are up for grabs on Thursday, the third of nine phases of voting in the world's biggest election that will end when results are published on May 16.

As well as the capital and its 17 million residents, ballots were cast in densely populated rural constituencies in northern India where the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - seen as the election frontrunner - is expected to poll strongly.

Delhi recorded a 64 per cent voter turnout, up by 12 per cent from 2009 and the country's Election Commission said that the figure could go up.

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