India election 2019: Latest updates
Bollywood stars came out early Monday morning to vote across the six constituencies in Mumbai, the home of India's Hindi-language movie industry.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who recently got married to Nick Jonas in a lavish ceremony, showed her inked finger on Instagram, along with the caption: “This is the moment that matters.... Every vote is a voice that counts.”
Mumbai North Congress candidate, Urmila Matondkar, also encouraged people to vote through a post on her Instagram account.
Anupam Kher, a prominent Bollywood star who has appeared in many international films also voted early in the morning.
While actress Madhuri Dixit Nene encouraged people to use their vote "wisely."
India's elections are fiercely competitive, a total of 8,251 candidates were fielded from 464 parties in the last general election in 2014.
In that environment, and as this election increasingly looks to be a close call, parties in recent weeks have sought to capitalize on star power -- especially, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which had added a number of celebrities to its line-up.
This month, Daler Mehndi, one of India's most famous singers, joined the BJP. He follows cricketer Gautam Gambhir, actress Jaya Prada and singer Hans Raj Hans, who all recently joined the BJP to run in this cycle.
When stars announce their campaigns, their first political rallies are almost guaranteed huge crowds, says Komal Nahta, film trade analyst: "They have that glamor quotient."
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The Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh has posted an Avengers themed GIF on Twitter in a bid to encourage local voters to get out to vote.
Six seats up being contested in Madhya Pradesh Monday, with the Bharatiya Janata Party battling to keep control of the large, electorally important central Indian state.
Party workers from the Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have clashed outside polling booths in West Bengal, with police being forced to intervene to stop the violence from escalating.
BJP candidate for the state's Asansol district, Babul Supriyo, was attacked outside a booth in Asansol, with the windows in his car smashed by locals.
Supriyo has alleged that the state government has rigged the polls in favor of the TMC.
This is not the first time that violence has erupted in the state. Each phase has seen party workers clash amid allegations of voter intimidation, election rigging and harassment.
The world's largest exercise in democracy is well underway, with the fourth round of polling taking place on April 29. We'll be following every twist and turn as up to 900 million people vote to choose their next leader.
- Due to the sheer size of the operation, polling will unfold over seven phases around the country ending on May 19.
- The results will be declared on May 23.
- Key issues include the economy, jobs and unemployment.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are seeking re-election after a landslide victory in 2014.
- They face a fragmented opposition but competition could come from the Congress Party, led by Rahul Gandhi.
- The election is coming off the back of escalating tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region.
Nine states go to the polls Monday, as India’s fourth election phase gets underway, including the financial capital of the country, Mumbai.
More than 70 constituencies are in play in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Bihar.
The largest share of the vote will come from Rajasthan, where 13 constituencies are casting their votes.
The state could prove to be something of a bellwether, with the opposition Congress Party hoping to capitalize on its success during the 2018 state elections.
Rajasthan was one of several key states ceded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the closely contested battle.
Uttar Pradesh could prove difficult for the BJP too. The region is home to India's "leather belt" -- an industrial cluster of tanneries that taken together, provides direct and indirect employment to hundreds of thousands of local people.
Many of those tanneries have been forced to suspend operations due to pollution control measures issued by the BJP-led state government, causing consternation among workers.
The mostly closed watched city will undoubtedly be Mumbai, where former actress Urmila Matondkar is going head-to-head with BJP heavyweight and local incumbent Gopal Shetty.
The entry of Matondkar, star of 90s Bollywood hits "Rangeela" and "Judaai," has transformed the contest and turned the Mumbai North seat into one of the most closely-watched constituencies in this year's national election.
In West Bengal, police will be hoping the fourth phase passes without incident. The state has encountered sporadic violence between supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) party and the BJP in recent weeks, as the BJP look to upend the regional status quo.
Three more phases are due in the coming weeks with the next phase scheduled for May 6.