Two states go to the polls
Following the Manipur state election on Saturday, two more of the five states slated to hold elections this year will vote today.
Punjab in North West India is the larger of the two states with a legislative assembly of 117 seats and an electorate of 17,433,408.
There are 1,078 candidates standing for the 117 seats and voters will vote at one of 19,841 polling stations. There is a new party standing; the Punjab People’s Party is contesting 92 seats.
In the 2007 election the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) emerged as the largest party with 47 seats and subsequently formed a coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Uttarakhand is the other state voting today. Situated in the north of India, bordering with Tibet and Nepal its legislative assembly or Vidhan Sabha has 70 members. There are 788 candidates and 5,740,148 electors will vote at one of 9,806 polling stations.
At the last election in 2007 the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 34 seats and formed the government. The Indian National Congress (INC) took 21 seats, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 8 seats, with independents and others taking a further six seats.
Both the BJP and INC are the two major national parties and would hope to do well in this election as well as the Punjab where the stakes are high.
Polling stations open in both states at 8 a.m. local time and close at 5 p.m.
In Manipur on Saturday around 86% turnout was recorded, but an otherwise quiet poll was marred by one incident in which seven people were killed and police were called to defuse an Improvised Explosive Device (IED)