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    India Begins Mammoth Elections

    Voting has begun for India's national election.

    The polls opened Monday for what is known as the world's largest exercise in democracy, with more than 815 million eligible voters. The election will be conducted in nine phases over five weeks.

    Voters are choosing members to the 543-seat Lok Sabha, or House of the People - India's lower house of parliament.

    The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, and its allies are forecast to win the biggest block of seats. But the latest polls indicate it may fall short of a majority. Any party or coalition needs at least 272 seats to form a government.

    Hundreds of thousands of troops have been deployed across the country to ensure peaceful voting.

    India is wracked by insurgencies in central, northern and northeastern states, and rebels often target voting stations and security forces.

    Results are expected around May 16.

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