Indian men stand in a queue to caste their vote at a polling station during the India's general election in Kawaal village near Muzaffarnagar, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Photograph: AFP
New Delhi: Senior citizens and first time voters showed a lot of enthusiasm and came out to vote in large numbers on Thursday as voting began for 91 Lok Sabha constituencies, spread across 18 states and two Union Territories amidst tight security.
In Gondia district of Maharashtra, 75-year-old Vijay Puroshutam Joshi was among the many early voters.
On being asked what issues concern him, he told ANI, "Ram Mandir, country's progress, unemployment, and national security."
"For national security and country's progress, people should come out and cast their votes for whichever party they want. The nation comes first, rest everything comes later," he said.
The 92-year-old voter, Dr. D.N. Sanghani, adhering to the moral duty of casting vote, in spite of his old age infirmities, told ANI that he is voting at this age also and everyone should come out and exercise their franchise. He had come at polling booth in Gondia with his son and daughter-in-law.
"I am coming to vote at this age also. So everyone else should also exercise their right to vote. Not even one person should stay at home," Sanghani said.
Inspiring others to vote, 89-year-old Gina Devi from Aurangabad district, Bihar was seen at the voting centre.
A 78-year-old man from Noida in Uttar Pradesh exercised his right to vote even after undergoing a knee replacement. "It's my right and if I can walk why shouldn't I come to vote. The issues that concern me are national security and our country's growth and I am here to exercise my right to vote," he told ANI.
Several senior citizens from Cooch Behar, West Bengal also came out to vote in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections with much enthusiasm.
Among youth several first-time voters turned up in large numbers to cast their votes. A 19-year-old voter from Aurangabad, Bihar expressed happiness on being able to exercise her right to vote.
"I felt very happy after casting my vote. Our government has done a lot for us, and whatever they do will be for our welfare only," she said.
First-time voters were also seen queued up to exercise their franchise in Nagpur Central.
One of the young voter, said: "A lot of development has taken place during these years not just in cities but in the villages as well, I can see progress that is why I am here to vote."
Another first time voter expressed her excitement saying: "I am very happy and excited as it is a national duty and I am voting for the first time. We will only vote for the one that is working towards the progress of the country. A lot of development can be seen in the state. I want a good party to come in power and things to get better."
Among the constituencies going for polls in the first phase are - eight in Uttar Pradesh, five in Uttarakhand, four in Bihar, seven in Maharashtra, five in Assam, four in Odisha, two each in Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and West Bengal, and one each in Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
Voting for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases - April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. Counting of votes will be done on May 23.
Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place for the Lok Sabha elections and tight vigil is being maintained at interstate borders.