Supporters of India’s ruling Congress party cheer at a rally ahead of general elections in New Delhi April 6, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS
India has a bicameral legislature, but the upper house — loosely modelled on the House of Lords — has just 245 members. It is the lower house which has financial powers and the capacity to veto legislation.
A voting population of over 800 million will elect 543 parliamentarians for the lower house – the Lok Sabha — from across the country in nine phases. The 2009 Lok Sabha polls, incidentally, were held in five phases from April 16 to May 13.
The first states in the contest for a prize that brings with it power and money will be six constituencies in the north eastern states of Assam and Tripura on April 7.