(Bloomberg) -- Each day, Bloomberg journalists take you across a selection of towns and cities as they gear up for the big vote.

Hi, this is Ruchi Bhatia and I cover India’s economy from New Delhi. The tranquil temple-town of Jammu on the foothills of the Himalayas, where I was born, is abuzz with high-decibel election campaigns. These are the first elections in the region after the federal government scrapped autonomy and broke up the former state of Jammu & Kashmir in 2019. Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is striving to score a third straight victory in Jammu to reinforce its hold and as validation for its decision to revoke the state’s special status. The erstwhile state, broken up into three federally-controlled territories, is known to deliver a fractured mandate, with the Muslim-dominated Kashmir favoring the regional parties and the largely Hindu electorate of Jammu siding with the BJP. Rising electricity bills and unemployment are key issues, even as the region prepares to explore the recently discovered lithium reserves. 

Top Stories

India’s Supreme Court reserved its verdict on petitions seeking paper audit of votes in the ongoing federal elections. The court didn’t announce a date for delivering the order.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi doubled down on his attacks against the main opposition party by using language critics say sows division between the country’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority. 

Meanwhile, the Election Commission is studying a complaint received against Modi for his speech in Rajasthan, in which he said that the Congress plans to redistribute citizens’ property to “infiltrators” with “more children.”

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Campaign Trail

The campaigning for second phase of elections will end on Wednesday. Voting will be held on Friday for 89 seats of the parliament’s lower house across 13 states. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor, union minister and BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar and actor Hema Malini are among key contestants.

Congress Party Chief Mallikarjun Kharge criticized Modi for acting like a “petty politician,” adding that he must learn to keep the nation united. Modi is afraid of “invisible voters,” Kharge told reporters, according to a PIT report.

Global Media

Al Jazeera reported that candidates are making intense efforts to woo expatriate Indians in the Middle East. The region, home to millions of overseas Indian citizens, has been the scene of extensive physical and virtual election campaigns, with community groups even launching initiatives to help expats fly back to their constituency in India to cast their ballots.

Who Votes This Week?

India’s mammoth election runs through June 1, with counting scheduled for June 4. This map from the Election Commission of India shows which constituencies vote when.

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