As the world’s largest democracy witnesses parliamentary elections today, a total of 91 parliamentary constituencies in 18 States and two union territories of the country are undergoing polls. This is the first phase of seven-phased Lok Sabha polls.
The last phase of elections will be held on May 19. The counting of votes will be held on May 23.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Lok Sabha constituencies that will go to polls today are Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Baghpat, Saharanpur, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor and Kairana.
Electoral fate of 96 candidates including three Union ministers- Gen V K Singh, Satyapal Singh and Mahesh Sharma will be decided in this phase. Other prominent candidates in the fray include– RLD chief Ajit Singh, BJP leader Sanjeev Balyan, Congress leader Imran Masood and Tabassum Begum from Samajwadi Party.
In Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Baramulla Lok Sabha constituencies are going to polls in the first phase.
In Arunachal Pradesh, about 8 lakh voters will decide the fate of 181 candidates for the 60-seat Assembly and 12 candidates for two seats of Lok Sabha elections today. The Assembly elections will be held for 57 seats as 3 seats have already been declared unopposed. There are 2202 polling stations in the state, out of which 643 have been identified as critical polling stations. 45 companies of Central paramilitary forces along with more than 7500 state police personnel have been deployed across the state for a smooth election process.
In Meghalaya, polling is being held today for two Lok Sabha Parliamentary seats- Shillong and Tura and the by-election to the Selsella Assembly constituency. In Shillong, six candidates are in the fray including candidates from the Congress, United Democratic Party and BJP besides three independent candidates. For the Tura seat, the contest will be a three-cornered battle between the Congress, NPP and BJP. Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer, FR Kharkongor said, all arrangements have been made to ensure a free and fair election.
Sikkim Assembly elections of 32 seats will be held simultaneously with lone parliament seat of the state today. 150 candidates including nine independents are in the fray for Assembly elections.
On the other hand, 11 candidates including two independents are in the fray for Sikkim Lok Sabha seat. Out of 567 polling stations, 120 have been identified as critical. Over 4,000 troopers of the Central Para Military Forces and state Armed and Police personnel have been deployed to ensure free and fair polls. A total of 39 polling stations of the state are being manned by all women polling parties and police forces.
In Mizoram, polling will be held for lone Lok Sabha seat and by-election to the Aizawl West-I seat to be held today. Six candidates are in the fray for the election to the lone ‘Mizoram’ Lok Sabha constituency while it will be a triangular contest in the Aizawl West – I assembly by-poll. Chief Electoral officer Ashish Kundra told media that 1,175 polling stations have been set up across the state. Of these, 117 Polling stations, named as Pink Polling stations will be manned by all-women staff. Besides, 15 special polling stations have been set up at Kanhmun village on Mizoram-Tripura border where displaced Bru voters living in the six relief camps in North Tripura district will cast their votes. As a security measure, the administration has sealed state’s international borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, in Tripura, 13 candidates are in the fray for today’s election to the Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency. Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti said, all preparations for free and fair election are in place.
Nagaland is all set to go to polls today to elect the State’s lone Member of Parliament for the Lok Sabha seat and the by-election to the 26th Aonglenden Assembly Constituency seat under Mokokchung district.
In Manipur, polling will be held today for the ST-reserved Outer-Manipur Parliamentary Constituency. State Chief Electoral Officer P K Singh told AIR News that special arrangements are being made for the convenience of female and physically challenged voters in all the polling stations.
In Telangana, voting is being held in all 17 Lok Sabha constituencies today. 443 candidates including 25 women are in the fray. State Chief Electoral Officer Dr Rajat Kumar has said all arrangements are in place to ensure free and fair polling. In Nizamabad, where 185 candidates are in the contest, additional poll staff and hundreds of engineers have been pressed into service.
In Assam, polling is being held for Lakhimpur, Tezpur, Kaliabor, Dibrugarh and Jorhat seats in this phase. Additional CEO Vivekanand Phukan has said all measures have been taken to conduct smooth polling today. Armed forces have been deployed at all polling stations to ensure security. A tight vigil is being maintained at interstate borders and Indo- Bhutan border to avoid any untoward incidents.
In Bihar, four parliamentary constituencies are going to polls today. Polling will be held in Gaya, Aurangabad, Jamui and Nawada which are naxal affected constituencies. Due to security reasons, time of polling has been restricted till 4.00 pm in naxal affected areas while polling has been allowed till 6.00 pm in the normal areas of the four constituencies. Total 44 candidates are in fray for this phase. Former Chief Minister and head of Hindustani Awam Morcha (हिंदुस्तानी अवाम मोर्चा ) Jitan Ram Manjhi and LJP leader Chirag Paswan are prominent figures in the first phase.
Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place. Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Kumar Singh said more than 70, 30,000 electorates are eligible to cast their vote at 7,500 polling stations spread over four seats. He said, 45,000 polling personnel have been pressed in service.
In West Bengal, all arrangements have been made for free and fair polling in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar Lok Sabha Seats today. Altogether 18 candidates are in the fray for the two Lok Sabha Seats. Security arrangements have been strengthened along Inter-state border with Assam and International border with Bhutan.
In Odisha, voting will be held for four Lok Sabha and 28 Assembly seats tomorrow. Amid unprecedented security in the Maoist affected areas of Chhattisgarh, the Bastar Lok Sabha constituency is going to poll today. Elaborate security arrangements are in place to ensure free, fair and peaceful polling.
Seven Lok Sabha seats in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra will also go to polls today. With temperatures soaring above 42 degree Celsius, voting percentage will also be a big factor in the polls.
The lone Parliamentary Constituency of Andaman and Nicobar Islands will go to polls today in the first phase of General Elections 2019. A total of 15 candidates are in the fray for the lone seat of Andaman and Nicobar Parliamentary Constituency. There are 407 polling stations in the Constituency.