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2nd phase of voting begins in India's general election

Voting has begun in the second phase of India's general elections amid massive security and a lockdown in parts of the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The city of Srinagar is one of 97 constituencies across 13 Indian states where voting was scheduled Thursday.

The election is taking place in seven phases over six weeks in the country of 1.3 billion people.

A Kashmiri polling official carries electronic voting machines and other election material for distribution on the eve of the second phase of India's general election inside a distribution center in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. With 900 million of India's 1.3 billion people registered to vote, the Indian national election is the world's largest democratic exercise. (AP PhotoDar Yasin)

Some 900 million people are registered to vote for candidates to fill 543 seats in India's lower house of Parliament.

Voting concludes on May 19 and counting is scheduled for May 23.

The election, the world's largest democratic exercise, is seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party.

Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside a polling station on the eve of the second phase of India's general election in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. With 900 million of India's 1.3 billion people registered to vote, the Indian national election is the world's largest democratic exercise. (AP PhotoDar Yasin)

Modi has used Kashmir as one of the top issues of his campaign.

Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside a polling station on the eve of the second phase of India's general election in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. With 900 million of India's 1.3 billion people registered to vote, the Indian national election is the world's largest democratic exercise. (AP PhotoDar Yasin)

Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside a polling station on the eve of the second phase of India's general election in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. With 900 million of India's 1.3 billion people registered to vote, the Indian national election is the world's largest democratic exercise. (AP PhotoDar Yasin)

An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard outside an election material distribution center on the eve of the second phase of India's general election in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. With 900 million of India's 1.3 billion people registered to vote, the Indian national election is the world's largest democratic exercise. (AP PhotoDar Yasin)