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Second Phase of Voting Begins in India's General Election

Indians stand in a queue to cast their votes during the second phase of India's general elections in Chennai, India, April 18, 2019. The Indian election is taking place in seven phases over six weeks in the country of 1.3 billion people.

More than 150 million voters are casting their ballots in the second phase of India's massive general elections.

Thursday's round of balloting covers more than 90 parliamentary constituencies across a dozen states, including the troubled Indian-controlled Kashmir region, where more than 40 Indian security forces were killed in a suicide car bomb attack back in February. New Delhi responded by sending fighters jets across the border into Pakistan to conduct airstrikes on an alleged training camp operated by the Pakistan-based outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group, which reportedly claimed responsibility for the Kashmir attack.

The airstrikes pushed the two longtime nuclear-armed rivals to the brink of war, but it boosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's public standing. Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party are considered the favorites in this election, but are facing growing discontent in rural districts because of plunging farm incomes.

As many as 900 million of India's 1.3 billion citizens are eligible to vote for thousands of candidates competing for 543 seats in the India's lower house of Parliament. The election, which began last Thursday, will be scattered over six weeks in the world's most populous democracy.

Voting will conclude May 19, with the final results announced May 23.