Voting for the first phase is being held in 91 Lok Sabha seats and four Assembly seats.
New Delhi: Voting for the first phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections began at 7 am today (Thursday). Voting is being 91 Lok Sabha seats in 20 states and Union territories. Besides this, people in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha will also vote for their respective assembly elections.
Some of the key candidates whose fate will be decided in today’s voting include Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Gen (retd) VK Singh and Kiren Rijiju, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, Ajit Singh, Jayant Chaudhary, Chirag Paswan, former Bihar CM Jeetanram Manjhi, and Asaduddin Owaisi.
The states where voting will take place in phase 1 include Andhra Pradesh (25 parliamentary constituencies), Arunachal Pradesh (2), Assam (5), Bihar (4), Chhattisgarh (1), Jammu and Kashmir (2), Maharashtra (7), Manipur (1), Meghalaya (2), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Odisha (4), Sikkim (1), Telangana (17), Tripura (1), Uttar Pradesh (8), Uttarakhand (5), West Bengal (2), Andaman (1) and Lakshadweep (1).
Voting to the state assemblies in Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections.
1,279 candidates are in the fray in the first phase, 83 of these are from the BJP, 83 from Congress, 33 from BSP, 26 from YSR Congress, 25 from TDP, 17 from TRS and 1,279 of them are Independents and others.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is fighting the most significant battle of his life. He allied with Congress in the recent Telangana elections but decided to share not even a single seat with the party in his state.
Naidu’s main rival YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy has been raising a lot of political heat. BJP, a junior player in the state, plans to hurt TDP which walked out of NDA over special status for Andhra Pradesh.
For Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Naveen Patnaik’s government in Odisha, this is a critical battle. The party has ruled the state for 15 years and faces a strident BJP after Congress, in the absence of a tall leader, has fallen to the third spot.
If BJD cedes ground to BJP, the latter may somewhat make up for the losses it suffers in states like UP, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
In Maharashtra, the Election Commission will conduct live webcast of over 1,400 polling booths where voting will take place in the first phase. Polling will be held for Wardha, Ramtek, Nagpur, Bhandara-Gondia, Gadchiroli-Chimur, Chandrapur and Yavatmal-Washim Lok Sabha constituencies Thursday.
The Election Commission of India has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure the polls are conducted in a free and fair manner.