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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Elections 2014 - Phase II: Polling Begins In 91 Lok Sabha Seats Spread Across 11 States And 3 Union Territories

INNLIVE Election Teams
Voting begins in Delhi 
Voting is being held for seven Lok Sabha seats in the country's capital, seen as test of Aam Aadmi Party's perceived erosion of support base, BJP's claim of 'Modi wave' and assertion by Congress that it was regaining lost ground after drubbing in last assembly polls.
The high-voltage contest also assumes greater significance as it may set the stage for the possible assembly polls in the city in the next few months.

The campaign for the election saw main contenders BJP, Congress and fledgling AAP engaging in a fierce race to woo the 1.27 crore voters. Though Delhi has only seven Lok Sabha seats, the election outcome in the heart of the country carry a lot of significance due to political symbolism.

Though a total of 150 candidates are in the fray, including 58 Independents, the contest in all constituencies is likely to be three-way among the BJP, AAP and Congress.

For AAP, the election assumes greater significance as it will reflect people's support to it after the newbie created history in the December 4 assembly polls wresting 28 of the 70 seats and forming the government.

In East Delhi, incumbent MP Sandeep Dikshit is pitted against BJP's Maheish Girri and AAP's Rajmohan Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.

A tough triangular contest is in the offing in the high-profile New Delhi constituency where Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken was facing two first-time contenders in BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi and Ashish Khaitan from AAP.

An interesting battle is on the cards among BJP's Udit Raj, AAP's Rakhi Birla and Congress' Krishna Tirath in North West Delhi. The Dalit community, which is over 20 per cent of the total voters, may hold sway in the seat.

In South Delhi, BJP candidate Ramesh Bidhuri was pitted against Devender Sehrawat from AAP and Congress' Ramesh Kumar.

BJP has fielded Bhojpuri singer Manoj Tiwari in North East Delhi seat where AAP's Anand Kumar and Congress' J P Agarwal are the other prominent contenders.

There are 29 contenders from New Delhi constituency, the highest for any seat, while the lowest of 14 is in North West seat.

Nearly 50,000 security personnel, apart from 161 flying squads of police and video surveillance teams have been deployed as part of elaborate preparations to ensure fair and peaceful polls in Delhi.

Election Commission said it has done away with provision of voter cards and voter slips being mandatory to cast vote.

Polling will be held in 11,763 polling stations out of which 327 have been declared critical and 90 hyper-critical.

Voting will start at 7 AM and will continue till 6 PM.

For the first time, Delhi residents will be able to exercise their franchise even if they do not have Electors Photo Identity Card (voter card), but have their names registered in the electoral roll.

Polling underway in western Uttar Pradesh
 Polling for 10 Lok Sabha constituencies spread over 11 districts of Western Uttar Pradesh, including riot-hit Muzaffarnagar district, was underway today.

"The polling started on a peaceful note amidst tight security arrangements. The polling, which started at 7 AM, will continue till 6 PM", election officials said here.

12 per cent polling was recorded in the first two hours of polling in Gautam Budha Nagar Lok Sabha seat.

Long queues of votes were seen in majority of the polling booths in various sectors of Noida.

Ten of the total 80 constituencies where polling is underway in UP include Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Kairana, Aligarh, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Bulandshahar.

Muzaffarnagar riots have changed the political equations of the region dominated by Jats and Muslims which form 15 to 40 per cent of the polpulace, with political parties also fielding riot accused as their candidates.

A total of 146 candidates are in the fray including 14 women in this phase on which 8,435 polling centres and 16,913 polling stations are being made.

A total of 1.74 crore voters including 95.96 lakh men and 78.37 lakh women are expected to exercise their franchise.

While maximum number of 23.57 lakh voters are in Ghaziabad, Baghpat has minimum of 15.05 lakh voters.

Prominent among those who are contesting in this phase included- Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh is contesting from his traditional Baghpat constituency, while actor-turned politician Jaya Prada is also contesting on an RLD ticket from Bijnor.

Film star Nagma and Raj Babbar are the fray on Congress ticket from Meerut and Ghaziabad respectively.

Besides them, AAP's Shazia Ilmi and BJP's VK Singh from Ghaziabad, former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh (BJP) from Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar riot accused Kadir Rana (BSP), Hukum SIngh (BJP) Kairana, Sanjiv Baliyan (BJP) from Muzaffarnagar are also in the fray.

With Narendra Modi aide Amit Shah's controversial "revenge" remarks in Muzaffarnagar having stirred a controversy, significance in attached to polling in these ten constituencies.

While BSP's social engineering would be tested in this region as the party had won maximum five Lok Sabha seats in 2009, performance of Ajit Singh's RLD, which had won two seats then in alliance with the BJP, will also be examined as it has entered into an alliance with the Congress, which could not open its account in the region the last time.

118 candidates in fray on 9 seats in Madhya Pradesh
As many as 118 candidates are in the fray in the nine constituencies - Chhindwara, Satna, Rewa, Balaghat, Sidhi, Shahdol, Mandla, Jabalpur, and Hoshangabad - where over 11 million voters will decide their fate.

Polling for the rest of the constituencies will be held April 17 and 24.

Polling underway for 4 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand
Amid tight security, polling began at 7 a.m. today in Jharkhand's four Lok Sabha constituencies that are Maoist affected.

Voting began in Koderma, Lohardaga, Palamu and Chatra constituencies.

"As many as 1,193 video cameras will record the polling. Webcasting will done at 271 booths and 1,189 still cameras have also been pressed into service," said an election official.

Brisk polling in initial hours Kerala
An average 16 per cent turnout was recorded in the first two hours of polling in 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala, which began this morning.

Long queues of voters were seen in urban as well as rural areas as polling proceeded in a peaceful manner.

According to Election Commission, 6.9 per cent voter turn out was recorded in the first hour itself.

Contestants and leaders of various political parties were among the early voters in different constituencies, especially in the state capital.

Defence Minister A K Antony cast his vote in a booth in Thiruvananthapuram. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his family members voted in their home segment in Pudupally in Kottayam district.

A total of 21,424 polling stations had been arranged for 2.42 crore electorate in the state, which has a reputation for high voter turnout in the past elections.

Though 269 candidates are in the fray, the main fight, as in the past, is between the Congress-led UDF, now in power, and the opposition CPI(M)-led LDF.

The BJP has turned the electoral battle into a three-horse race in the state capital in down south and the northernmost Kasargode.

Polling begins in Lakshadweep islands
Polling in the Lakshadweep Lok sabha constituency in the Lakshadweep Islands began this morning.

There are 44 polling booths in the Island territory comprising 27 islands, of which only 10 are inhabited, including the headquarters island of Kavaratti.

Six contestants are in the fray for the lone seat with a close fight between sitting Congress MP, Hamdullah Sayeed, son of former Union minister, late P M Sayeed and P P Mohammed Faisal of NCP.

The other candidates are: Dr Abdul Muneer ((CPI-M), Koya Komalam (Samajwadi Party), M P Sayeed Mohammed Koya (BJP), C T Najumudeen (CPI).

An electorate of 49,821, including 25,342 men will cast their votes during the polling which began at 7 am.

There are 101 service voters, 10 of them being women. The polling station in Bitra island has only 233 voters.

Voting begins in Chhattisgarh for naxal-hit Bastar Lok Sabha seat
Voting began amid tight security in the Maoist-hit Bastar parliamentary constituency of Chhattisgarh, where BJP sitting MP Dinesh Kashyap, son of former Opposition leader late Mahendra Karma, Deepak and teacher-turned-activist Soni Sori are locked in a triangular fight.

The polling commenced in the Bastar Lok Sabha seat at 7 am, an election official told here.

The electorate in seven assembly constituencies--Bastar, Chitrakot, Narayanpur, Bijapur, Konta, Kondagaon and Dantewada --?of the region can vote till 3 pm while in the single Jagdalpur Vidhan Sabha seat, polling will take place upto 4 pm, he said.

Eight candidates including two women are in the fray for Bastar, which is the lone parliamentary seat going to polls in in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state.

A total of 12,98,971 voters including 6,33,681 men and 6,65,290 women will exercise their franchise in Bastar where 8,625 polling personnel have been employed for the electoral process.

Of the 1,797 booths in Bastar, 1,407 booths have been marked as 'critical' and all steps have been taken to ensure free and fearless polling there, the official said.

Over 872 digital/video cameras have been installed to monitor polling process in the naxal-infested region.

Also, 1,977 EVM control unit and 2,156 ballot units have been placed for polling in the constituency.

Besides, two air ambulances are stationed at Raipur and Jagdalpur to tackle any emergency.

BJP has once again fielded in its old face and sitting MP Dinesh Kashyap, who is the son of veteran BJP leader and a renowned tribal face late Baliram Kashyap.

While Congress has reposed faith in Deepak Karma whose father Mahendra Karma, founder of Salva Judum movement, was killed in the Jiram valley naxal attack on May 25 last year, to garner sympathy votes.

However, with the entry of AAP candidate Soni Sori, a tribal teacher from Dantewada region, the contest this time has become three-cornered. Sori is likely to gain support from remote areas.

Other candidates in the fray are: Manbodh Baghel (BSP), Shankar Ram Thakur (SP), Vimla Sori (CPI), Devchand Dhruv (CPI (ML) and Arjun Singh Thakur (Ambedkarite Party of India).

Maharashtra: First phase polling for 10 Lok Sabha seats begins
The state, which accounts for the second highest number of Lok Sabha constituencies after Uttar Pradesh, goes to polls in three phases. Polling on 10 of 48 Parliamentary constituencies of Maharashtra begins on Thursday. Total 121,75,662 voters, including 58,52,041 women and 62 23,581men will be casting their votes.

BJP is contesting for 6 seats while its alliance Shiv Sena will be contesting for 4 seats. Congress is contesting for 7 seats and its alliance Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will be contesting for 3 seats. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting for 10 seats, Communist Party of India (CPI) will be contesting for 1 seat.

Parliamentary constituencies that are going to poll in the first phase are Bhuldhana, Akola, Amravati, Wardha, Ramtek, Nagpur, Bhandhara-Gondiya, Gadchiroli-Chirmur, Chandrapur, Yavatmal-Washim. Largest Parliamentary constituency Electorate wise being Nagpur with 16,29,756 voters.

Lok Sabha and Assembly poll begins in Odisha amidst tight security
The first of the two-phased simultaneous elections to the 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats in the Maoist belt in Odisha began on Thursday amidst tight security in view of the poll boycott called by the extremists.

The constituencies where polling is on are spread over the western and southern areas of Odisha and more than 50 of the 70 assembly segments are in the Maoist-affected areas.

With heat wave conditions intensifying in the areas, many voters were seen queuing up in front of booths since the early hours to avoid the scorching sun later.

The Lok Sabha constituencies where polling is on are Kandhamal, Koraput, Kalahandi, Bargarh, Bolangir, Berhampur, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Aska, Nabarangpur.

Today's polling will decide the political fortunes of a total 98 candidates, including former Congress chief ministers Giridhar Gamang and Hemanand Biswal, former union ministers Jual Oram (BJP) and Bhakta Charan Das (Congress).

Hockey star and former Indian team captain Dilip Tirkey is contesting from Sundargarh LS seat on a BJD ticket.

He is pitted against Hemanand Biswal of Congress and Oram.

Prominent Odia cinestar Siddhant Mohapatra is the BJD candidate from Berhampur Lok Sabha seat.

A total 673 aspirants are in the reckoning for 70 assembly seats and an electorate of 1,36,46989 voters, including 66,62,309 women, will cast their ballots in total of 17,266 booths.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is seeking re-election from Hinjili constituency in Ganjam district.

Voting begins for 10 LS seats in Haryana, Chandigarh
Polling commenced this morning for the 10 Lok Sabha constituencies in Haryana and the lone seat in Chandigarh Union Territory amidst tight security arrangements.

The key candidates amongst a total of 230, including 11 women, includes Haryana industrialist Naveen Jindal, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's son Deepender, Avtar Singh Bhadana (all three of Congress) and former Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh (BJP).

17 candidates are in fray in Chandigarh including former Railway Minister Pawan Bansal (Congress) and three women nominees Kirron Kher (BJP), Gul Panang (AAP) and Jannat Jahan (BSP) whose fate would be sealed by about six lakh voters today.

Haryana has about 1.59 Crs voters, including 74 lakh women for whom arrangement for polling have been made at 16,240 polling stations, about 11,700 in rural areas.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shrikant Walgad said that about 50,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are being used in the State which include 18,000 control units and about 32,000 ballot units.

He said that maximum number of 41 candidates are contesting from Hisar Parliamentary Constituency whereas the least number of 14 candidates each are contesting from Ambala and Rohtak Parliamentary Constituencies.

Walgad said that the candidates include eight of BJP, 10 of BSP, two of CPI, three of CPM, 10 each of INC and INLD, two of HJC (BL), 64 of other Registered Political Parties and 121 Independent Candidates.

Haryana DGP S N Vashisht said that 74 Companies of Central Para Military Forces (CPMF) comprising of personnel from CRPF including women battalion, BSF, ITBP and Armed Police of Gujarat, J & K and Rajasthan, 45,000 personnel of Haryana Police and 20,000 Home Guards have been deployed for smooth polling.
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