New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took to Twitter and appealed to voters to appear in large numbers to cast their votes. This was on the day of the first phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

"2019 Lok Sabha elections commence today. I call upon all those whose constituencies are voting in the first phase today to turn out in record numbers and exercise their franchise. I especially urge young and first-time voters to vote in large numbers," PM Modi tweeted.

Polling for 91 Lok Sabha constituencies, spread across 18 states and two union territories, began on Thursday morning amidst tight security.

Among the constituencies going to polls in the first phase are – eight in Uttar Pradesh, five in Uttarakhand, four in Bihar, seven in Maharashtra, five in Assam, four in Odisha, two each in Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and West Bengal, and one each in Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

Over 14 crore voters will decide the fate of 1,279 candidates who are in the fray. More than 1 lakh polling booths have been set up across the country, the Election Commission said in a statement issued on Wednesday. It also mentioned that 7,764 third gender voters will exercise their franchise in the first phase.

Voting for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases – April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. Counting of votes will be done on May 23.

Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place for the elections and tight vigil is being maintained at interstate borders.