India elections 2014: 814m voters registered – 100m more than last election

Around 120m will be first-time voters

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The Independent Online

A remarkable 814m voters are registered to take part in India’s general election – a figure that has leapt by 100m since the country’s last such poll.

The country is readying for a month of voting as it goes to the polls to elect its 16th parliament since securing independence from Britain in 1947. The first of nine voting days is due to take place on Monday in the north-eastern states of Assam and Tripura.

When India held its last general election in 2009, a total of 714m people were registered to take part. That figure itself had increased by 40m since the previous election in 2004.

India’s population continues to soar, with predictions that it will soon overtake its Asian neighbour, China. This time 814m people are registered to take part and estimates suggest that around 120m of them, or about 20 per cent, will be first-time voters.

In places such as the huge northern state of Uttar Pradesh, with a population of 200m, the youth vote could play a crucial role in deciding who emerges as the eventual winner.

Officials are confident that they have done their preparation for the polling across India’s 35 states and so-called Union Territories. To handle the numbers, officials are busy identifying and establishing 930,000 polling stations. People will be making use of an estimated 1.4m electronic voting machines.