Bengaluru/New Delhi - Voters across swaths of southern India began queuing up early on Thursday in the second phase of a mammoth, staggered general election in which opposition parties are trying to stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi from winning a second term.
More than 155 million people are eligible to vote in the second phase, which covers 95 parliament constituencies in 12 states including parts of restive Jammu and Kashmir. India's parliament has 545 members.
The focus will be on the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where the main opposition Congress party and its allies need to win big if they hope to oust Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP secured a landslide majority in the previous general election in 2014, in part by winning sweeping victories in six northern states that gave the party 70 percent of all its seats, said Neelanjan Sircar, an assistant professor at Ashoka University near the capital, New Delhi.
"You can never expect you’ll do that again," he said. "Those seats that you lose, you’ll have to make up somewhere."