Young men walk past a wall with an election awareness message in Hyderabad, India, on April 9. (Mahesh Kumar A./AP)

Roughly one in eight people on the planet is eligible to vote in India’s national election that began on April 11. From mega cities to remote mountain villages, nearly 900 million voters will choose India’s next leader in an election so big it takes six weeks to complete.

Narendra Modi, India’s charismatic and polarizing prime minister, is running for reelection in a vote with far-reaching implications for the country’s democracy and economy. The polls unfold in seven phases, concluding May 19, with results announced May 23.

In the coming weeks, we’ll use WhatsApp to provide regular updates on the election and take you behind the scenes of our reporting. We’ll also explore some key questions with those subscribed to our updates: What are the main issues animating voters, especially young people and women? Can Modi persuade voters to give him another mandate? How is social media being deployed by political parties?

How it works

Using MessengerPeople as our service provider, updates are available in English directly to your mobile device via WhatsApp. The channel launches April 17 and will run until the days following the election results.

Those who opt in for updates from The Washington Post on this platform will receive the latest news and be able to talk directly with the Washington Post reporters covering India, Joanna Slater and Niha Masih.

We will also kick-start discussions around the election and hope to highlight some of them in future coverage.

How to subscribe

Opt in for the latest updates on WhatsApp from Joanna and Niha by clicking here.

Simply add the number shown as a contact in your phone and send us the word “start” on WhatsApp to activate the messages. You will receive our updates from the time you subscribe; therefore you will not be able to view any past updates.

I don’t use these messaging apps but want to receive updates. What should I do?

WhatsApp is available to download via the app store on your mobile device. Install the app and follow the link to gain access.

How many updates will I receive?

We aim to send a minimum of three messages each week, and you will not receive more than two messages per day.

In the days running up to the election and as the results are revealed, you can expect an increase in frequency of updates.

Can other people message me or see my replies?

Any message you send us will be received directly and will not be seen by other people following the chat. Please note that while other subscribers won’t directly receive or be able to read your reply, we may choose to share your views and responses with our readers both online and in our reporting.

During this process, you will only receive messages from us and not any other users following the chat.

How will my phone number be used?

The Washington Post will use your phone number for the purposes of creating and distributing updates as part of our project on the Indian election. Your number will not be used in relation to any other project. You can review the privacy policy of MessengerPeople here.

How to unsubscribe

If you wish to opt out and stop receiving updates at any time, simply send us the word “stop.” This can be communicated in either upper or lowercase text.

Where else can I receive updates from The Washington Post?

You can find more of The Washington Post’s international coverage on our website and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Read more:

In the world’s biggest election, India’s Narendra Modi pushes fear over hope

What’s at stake in the world’s largest election