|The five-phase election is one of numbers both big and small [GALLO/GETTY]|
India’s general election, which begins on April 16, is the world’s largest democratic exercise.
The electorate in what is also the world’s largest democracy has increased by 41 million since 2004.
Of those eligible to vote in the 2009 election, 24 per cent are under 35 years of age, 48 per cent are women, and 82 per cent of them will be identified by photos on the electoral roll.
Lok Sabha, or the lower house of parliament, has 543 constituencies, and each elects one member.
While 131 seats are reserved for lower castes and tribes people as part of India’s widespread affirmative action programme, the country’s president can appoint two extra Anglo-Indian members.
Here are more facts and figures on the five-phase vote:
714,000,000 voters have registered.
6,100,000 security and civil personnel are on election duty.
828,804 polling booths will be operated nationwide.
1 – the number of voters required for a 100 per cent turnout at a polling station inside Gujarat state’s Gir lion sanctuary, which caters to a lone constituent.
543 seats in the lower house of parliament are elected.
131 seats are reserved for tribals or lower-caste candidates.
5,180 metres – the elevation above sea level of India’s highest polling booth in Fastan village in Jammu and Kashmir state’s Ladakh region.
26 km – the distance from the Fastan polling booth to the nearest road.
1,368,430 electronic voting machines.
10,000 tonnes – the estimated amount of paper that will be saved by the use of electronic voting machines this year.
157 years – the combined age of two main candidates for prime minister,
Manmohan Singh and LK Advani.
100,000,000,000 rupees ($2bn) – the total estimated cost of the 2009 election, according to a survey by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS).
2,500,000 rupees – the legal limit of campaign spending by individual
25,000,000,000 rupees – the combined amount candidates will spend on illegal vote buying, according to CMS estimates.
200,000 dollars have reportedly been paid by the ruling Congress party to secure campaign rights to the Oscar-winning song Jai Ho (“Victory”) from the film Slumdog Millionaire.
2,000,000 bottles of indelible ink will be used to mark voters’ fingers to prevent double voting.