April 7 - India kicks off world's biggest election in remote northeast, with Hindu nationalist opposition candidate Narendra Modi holding a strong lead. Sarah Toms reports.
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Indians begin voting in the world's biggest election.
More than 800 million people are registered to vote over the next five weeks.
That's 100 million more than at the last elections in 2009.
(SOUNDBITE) (Bengali) SUSMITA DAS, A FIRST TIME VOTER, SAYING:
"I am feeling great as I am voting for the first time. I came early to beat the rush at the polling booth, but as you can see there are already quite a few people gathered here."
The election is spread out in nine stages.
On the first day of voting, polling is taking place in six constituencies across two states in the north-east - Assam and Tripura.
Here in the famous tea growing region of Assam, among the main parties voters must choose from is the ruling Congress or the Hindu nationalist BJP opposition.
(SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) UMESH KUMAR, A VOTER, SAYING:
"We have come to cast our vote, as we hope that a good leader is selected who forms a stable government and can provide solution to the problems which the country is facing."
Narendra Modi's opposition BJP party has promised to do just that...to jumpstart a flagging economy and sweep out the Nehru Gandi dynasty.
Pollsters predict that Modi and allies will win the biggest chunk of the 543 parliamentary seats up for grabs but will fall shy of a majority.
If this happens a coalition government led by the BJP is seen as the most likely outcome.
But here in Assam, it's a Congress party stronghold.
The result won't be known for some time.
The ballot concludes on 12 May and votes will not be counted until 16 May.
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