Indian PM votes in general election, calls for national security
Updated 19:49, 23-Apr-2019
CGTN
00:26

Voting began in the third and largest phase of India's staggered general election on Tuesday. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi cast his ballot in his home state of Gujarat and again underlined the need to combat "terrorism."

In all, 188 million Indians are eligible to vote in 117 constituencies during the day, across 15 states and federally controlled territories. India's parliament has 545 members. Nearly 24 percent of those eligible had voted as of 12 p.m., India's election commission said.

Supporters of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wearing traditional headgear attend an election campaign rally being addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Himmatnagar, Gujarat, India, April 17, 2019. /Reuters Photo

Supporters of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wearing traditional headgear attend an election campaign rally being addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Himmatnagar, Gujarat, India, April 17, 2019. /Reuters Photo

"IED is a weapon of terrorism, and voter ID is a weapon of democracy," he told reporters after voting, referring to improvised explosive devices and voter identification cards. "I believe the voter ID is much more powerful than an IED," said Modi.

The general election, which has seven phases, began on April 11 and will end on May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23.

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So far, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has aggressively pushed Modi's national security record as it seeks to offset the opposition's charges of economic mishandling, inadequate jobs creation and widespread farm distress.

Modi addressed an election rally in western Maharashtra state on Monday and mentioned the attacks on Sri Lankan hotels and churches on Easter Sunday that killed 321 people and wounded about 500. He said India's security had been enhanced after his government came to power in 2014.

(Cover: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi shows his ink-marked finger after casting his vote outside a polling station during the third phase of the general election in Ahmedabad, India, April 23, 2019. /Reuters Photo)

Source(s): Reuters