India is the world's second-largest nation, next to China, and the biggest democracy. Since its last general election five years ago, India has added 100 million eligible voters.
The total election results won't be counted until May 16, but Monday marked the first day of voting. Two states in India's far northeast headed to polls to cast the first ballots. When all is said and done, more votes will be cast in this Indian election than in the last six U.S. general elections combined. (Via The New York Times, NBC, CNN, ABC)
And India's current cast of 545 members in its lower house could be due for a major shakeup. Thirty percent of them have criminal cases registered against them. About half of those are for murder or kidnapping. Corruption is a major concern.
The two main parties in this race are the incumbent Congress Party and the BJP, a party known for its strong Hindu nationalism in a country with high tension between Muslim and Hindu populations. (Via CNN)
Also in the mix: a party whose main priority is ending corruption, called the AAP. The group has polled well in India's capital territory of Delhi. (Via Firstpost)
Indians will use electronic voting machines in nine phases over the next five weeks, with a new set of states voting every few days. The current parliament will complete its mandated term at the end of May.