On the Ballot: 88 LS Seats Enter Voting Phase

According to the Election Commission, in this phase, more than 1.6 lakh polling officers have been deployed at 167,000 polling centres to facilitate the casting of ballots by 15.88 crore voters.

New Delhi: The election festival is gathering pace in the world’s largest democracy with the stage set for the second phase of voting in the Lok Sabha polls on Friday, covering 88 constituencies across 13 states and Union Territories, spanning the hills of West Bengal to the lush green landscapes of Kerala to the sandy deserts of Rajasthan.

While 89 constituencies were slated to go to polls in the second phase, as per the initial announcement by the Election Commission, voting in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul was advanced to the third phase on May 7 following the death of the BSP candidate in the fray.

Out of the 88 constituencies in the second phase, 73 are general seats, while 6 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST) and 9 for Scheduled Castes (SC).

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The voting is slated to commence at 7 a.m. on Friday and will continue until 5 p.m. However, in some places, the polling time for voting may vary as per the local weather. Due to the hot weather conditions, the polling time at several polling centres in several Bihar constituencies has been extended until 6 p.m. to facilitate the voters.

Among the notable candidates contesting in this phase are Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from Kerala’s Wayanad, where he faces the CPI’s Annie Raja and state BJP chief K. Surendran, Congress’ Shashi Tharoor vs BJP’s Rajeev Chandrasekhar in Thiruvananthapuram, Hema Malini from UP’s Mathura, former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel from the state’s Rajnandgaon, Congress leader D.K. Suresh from Bangalore Rural, and BJP youth leader Tejasvi Surya from Bangalore South, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat from Rajasthan’s Jodhpur, his ministerial colleague Kailash Choudhury from Barmer, and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla from Kota.

This phase will mark the completion of elections in Kerala, where polling will be held for all 20 seats, Manipur, where the remaining part of Outer Manipur will vote, as well as Tripura and Rajasthan, where polling was also held in the first phase on April 19.

It will mark the commencement of elections in Karnataka, where half of the state’s 28 seats, mostly in the southern part of the state, will vote. The seats going to polls in the first phase of elections in the state are Udupi Chikamagalur, Hassan, Dakshina Kannada, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Bangalore Rural, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Bangalore South, Chikballapur, and Kolar

Elections will continue in Assam (Karimganj, Silchar, Mangaldoi, Nawgong, Kaliabor), Bihar (Kishanganj, Purnia, Katihar, Bhagalpur, Banka), Chhattisgarh (Rajnandgaon, Mahasamund, Kanker), Madhya Pradesh (Tikamgarh, Damoh, Khajuraho, Satna, Rewa, Hoshangabad), Maharashtra (Buldhana, Akola, Amravati, Wardha, Yavatmal Washim, Hingoli, Nanded, Parbhani), Rajasthan (Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Pali, Jodhpur, Barmer, Jalore, Udaipur, Banswara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Kota, Jhalawar-Baran), Tripura’s Tripura East, Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, and Mathura, and West Bengal’s Darjeeling, Raiganj, and Balurghat.

Polling will also be held in J&K’s Jammu seat.

According to the Election Commission, in this phase, more than 1.6 lakh polling officers have been deployed at 167,000 polling centres to facilitate the casting of ballots by 15.88 crore voters.

These include 3.48 lakh first-time voters, and 3.28 crore young voters aged between 20 and 29.

On the other hand, there are 14.78 lakh registered voters aged 85 years or above, 42,226 voters aged over 100 years, and 1.47 lakh differently-abled voters, who have been provided with the option to cast their votes comfortably from their homes.

Out of 1,202 candidates in the fray, 1,098 are male, 102 are female, and 2 are of the third gender.

To facilitate the movement of polling and security personnel, four helicopters, three special trains, and around 80,000 vehicles have been deployed.

Along with the deployment of micro-observers at all polling centres, webcasting will be done at over 50 per cent of the polling centres, with more than 1,00,000 polling centres expected to be webcasted.

A total of 251 observers (89 general observers, 53 police observers, and 109 expenditure observers) have already arrived in the constituencies they were deployed to a few days before the polling day.


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