There was a low turnout on Wednesday (28 May) for the first major election in India since Prime Minster Mrs.
GV Street in Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India
GV Veiled women on way to polling station (2 shots)
SV Men and women on way to vote (2 shots)
GV Queues outside polling station (5 shots)
SV INTERIOR Polling station. Woman voting and being marked
SV Woman inside polling station
SV Woman casts vote
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Background: There was a low turnout on Wednesday (28 May) for the first major election in India since Prime Minster Mrs. Indira Gandhi was returned to power. The voting is t elect new assemblies in nine of India's 22 states, and is regarded as the first major test of Mrs. Gandhi's popularity.
SYNOPSIS: Some of the polling booths reported that hardly 15 percent had turned out by mid-day in this town of Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in the Indian Union.
Intense summer hear -- the temperature in some areas rose to 45 degrees centigrade (115 degrees Fahrenheit) -- is thought to be the reason for the poor showing.
The elections also have been marked by violence. By Thursday (29 May) six candidates and five political workers had died in shooting incidents and violent clashes. Voting ends after a two-day break on Saturday (31 May), with a total of nearly 245 million people eligible to vote. Political commentators predict that Mrs. Gandhi's party will win in most, if not all, of the nine states voting. A boost to her prospects has been the dis-unity of the opposition, particularly with the former ruling Janata party now split into four splinter groups.
Mrs. Gandhi sacked the opposition-run government after the came back to power in January, saying that it had not been possible to run the country's government with opposing governments at the centre of the states. Counting of the votes starts on June 1st, with the final results expected by the evening of June 2nd.