India gears up for phase 1 poll

Wednesday 17th April 2024 08:34 EDT

India is gearing up for the first of seven phases of Lok Sabha elections, starting from April 19. This time, the elections for the Lower House will be held in seven phases. The first phase of polling will be held on April 19, and the last will be on June 1. Among the major states going to polls in Phase 1 are Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand.

The states where elections will be over in the first phase itself are Tamil Nadu (39 seats), Uttarakhand (5), Arunachal Pradesh (2), Manipur (2), Meghalaya (2), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Sikkim (1). The polling will also be over in the first phase in Lakshadweep, Puducherry, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Overall, 102 of 534 Lok Sabha seats are up for grabs in the first phase.

List of states going to polls in phase-1 are: Arunachal Pradesh (2), Assam (5), Bihar (4), Chhatisgarh (1), Madhya Pradesh (6), Maharashtra (5), Manipur (2), Meghalaya (2), Mizoram (1),

Nagaland (1), Rajasthan (12), Sikkim (1), Tamil Nadu (39), Tripura (1), Uttar Pradesh (8), Uttarakhand (5), West Bengal (3), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1), Jammu and Kashmir (1), Lakshadweep (1), Puducherry (1).

In Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in terms of Lok Sabha seats (80), constituencies going to polls in the first phase are Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Nagina, Moradabad, Rampur, and Pilibhit. Bengal's Coochbehar, Alipurduars, and Jalpaiguri are also going to polls in the first phase. Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats.

In Maharashtra, which has 48 Lok Sabha seats, 5 constituencies are going to polls on April 19. Among them are Ramtek, Nagpur, Bhandara-Gondiya, Gadchiroli-Chimur, and Chandrapur. All 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and 5 seats in Uttarakhand will go to polls in Phase 1. The counting of votes will take place on June 4.

Political rallied by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition INDIA bloc are advancing with full force, trading political barbs and campaigning for their respective candidates for the general elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended election rallies and meetings in Kerala and Tamil Nadu on Monday, and his explosive interview with news agency ANI sparked a political warfare between NDA and INDIA. The opposition alliance slammed the prime minister for his defence on the electoral bonds scheme, as well as his other statements during the interview.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is set to address a public rally in Tamil Nadu. Singh will also hold a roadshow in Krishnagiri and Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, gearing up for the first phase of polls in the state.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed that opposition leaders read the 'fatiha' for dead criminals but don't condole the death of Hindus. "They glorify mafias and criminals and go to their homes and read the fatiha," Adityanath said, referring to prayers offered by Muslims for the dead. "But if an innocent Hindu becomes a victim of an accident, not a single word of condolence comes out of their mouth," he said.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said an "insignificant" number of people attended Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's roadshow and watching rhinos at the Kaziranga National Park would be "more beneficial". Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding a roadshow in Assam's Guwahati where thousands of people can be seen lined up on the streets to welcome him.

Earlier, while addressing public meeting in West Bengal's Raiganj, PM Modi said: "...The ideas of Bengal are a part of BJP's vision. With this vision, BJP has released 'sankalp patra'. BJP's sankalp patra is Modi's guarantee card..." PM Modi said, "Those running government in Bengal pushed it backwards. But Bengal's development is Modi's priority. Leaders like Swami Vivekananda, Bankim Chandra, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in Bengal, gave direction to India. Such thoughts (from thought makers) from Bengal are now the part of BJP's vision.”

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said that people want programmes, benefits, welfare schemes and not other things. "We are doing our best. Winning (Assembly) elections in Karnataka, Telangana and Himachal (Pradesh) have given a boost to the Congress. People accepted the guarantees we have given, which means people want programmes, benefits, welfare schemes and not other things," said Kharge. Meanwhile, the Congress party has released list of three candidates for Jharkhand - Deepika Pandey Singh to contest from Godda, Krishna Nand Tripathi from Chatra and Anupama Singh from Dhanbad.

Rahul Gandhi while addressing a rally in Kozhikode said, "I don't know if you saw PM Modi's interview with ANI yesterday. I don't know if you saw his face, his eyes, he was trying to defend the biggest corruption scandal on the planet through which BJP has got millions of rupees by extorting them from India's businessmen." In an X post, Rahul slammed the Agnipath scheme, saying, "The Agnipath scheme is an insult to the Indian Army and the brave youth who dream of protecting the country. This is not a scheme of the Indian Army but a scheme that was formulated in Narendra Modi's office which has been imposed on the Army." Rahul also lashed out at PM Modi, calling him an instrument of a few rich businessmen in the country. Gandhi alleged that Modi's job was to distract people from the real issues in the country, protect the richest businessmen in India and "forgive their bank loans".

The Election Commission has banned Congress leader Randeep Surjewala on Tuesday from campaigning for 48 hours over his “derogatory remarks" about BJP leader Hema Malini. The poll body issued a show-cause notice to Surjewala for allegedly making "undignified, uncivilized, and vulgar" remarks about Hema Malini. It stated that it carefully reviewed the contents and statements provided in Surjewala's reply. "The commission without prejudice to any order/notice issued or to be issued subsequently to him in the matter relating to MCC violations, hereby, strongly condemns the impugned statement made by him during the election campaign held in Haryana and reprimands Randeep Surjewala for the misconduct," the poll watchdog said.

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