Millions of Indians voted Thursday in the third round of
national elections, with the rich, poor, and even Bollywood stars casting their
Election officials estimated about a 50-percent voter turn-out as people voted
in nine states and two territories for 107 of 543 parliamentary seats.
Last November's terrorist attacks in India's main commercial city, Mumbai,
mobilized many middle and upper class residents to vote on the issue of
Turn-out was low in Kashmir, where soldiers patrolled the streets.
have called for a boycott of the vote to protest New Delhi's rule in the
Security was also tightened in West Bengal state, where two people were killed
Thursday in an explosion. Communist rebels have staged violent attacks in an
effort to disrupt the poll.
India's five phases of voting end May 13.
Final results are expected May 16.
The two main parties -- the ruling Congress Party and the Hindu nationalist
Bharatiya Janata Party -- are not expected to win enough seats to govern
without forming a coalition.
A total of 714 million people are eligible to vote in India
-- making this election the world's largest exercise in democracy. The polls
are staggered for logistical and security reasons.
A new parliament has to be in place by June 2.