Elections In India: The Way It Goes

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Only a few days remain before India’s parliamentary elections are held. All political parties are busy working on their poll campaigns. They are using all possible platforms to propagate their manifesto.

Traders across the country are stocking up on campaigning materials used by the political parties and they are even rolling out memorabilia carrying political symbols.

To constitute the 16th Lok Sabha, approximately 814.5 million voters are expected to cast their votes in all 543 parliamentary constituencies, in nine phases.

It will be the longest election in the country’s history, running from 7 April to 12 May 2014. When close to a billion people vote, the election must be spread out, for reasons of logistics and safety.

Shops selling election paraphernalia can be found everywhere dotting the streets of New Delhi. The campaign material includes T shirts, badges, banners, flags and skull caps with graphics and slogans of different political parties.

Many shopkeepers are associated with this trade on a seasonal basis, and once the elections are over, just like the snap of fingers, they wind up their business and cash out from the festival-like atmosphere.

A Zee News poll conducted recently showed five main issues concerning voters. These were price rises, corruption, unemployment, economic development and services (roads, electricity and water). Much lower on the chart of veter concerns were insecurity and a long way back, Communalism.

The survey, placed the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), 17 points ahead of Congress. In the far distance were Bahujan Samaj Party, Aam Admi Party, and regional parties Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and others.

For Prime Minister, those surveyed placed BJP candidate Narendra Modi 24 points ahead of Rahul Gandhi, and Arvind Kejriwal back a further 16 points, closely followed by Mayawati.

Ahmad Mukhtiyar is a photojournalist based in New Delhi, India, who tells important stories through the lens of his camera.