Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday urged citizens to “vote wisely” as the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections got under way. Gandhi is among several leaders who appealed to voters to come out in large numbers and participate in the democratic process.

“You vote today for the soul of India,” Gandhi tweeted. “For her future. Vote wisely.”

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked people to exercise their franchise as justice will be done now. “We have to take India to new heights. We have to save it from lies, cheating and jumlas, and take it towards progress with love, peace and brotherhood. Do cast your vote because now justice will be done,” he tweeted.

The Congress spokesperson asked people to choose between love and hate, jobs and pakoda, policies and propaganda.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah were among the first leaders who tweeted to encourage people to come out and vote in large numbers. “2019 Lok Sabha elections commence today,” the prime minister said on Twitter. “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 specially urge young and first-time voters to vote in large numbers.”

Amit Shah asked people to vote for a “decisive government”.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked people to participate in the biggest festival of democracy. “Today is a big day when the polling process begins for 91 Lok Sabha seats in the first phase of General Election 2019. I urge all the voters to participate in the biggest festival of democracy and vote in huge numbers,” he said.

Meanwhile, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi, after casting his vote on Thursday, urged voters not to let Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “wishes come true”, News18 reported. Owaisi was referring to Khan’s remark on Wednesday when he said that it would be better for India-Pakistan relations if Modi returned to power.