Polling is underway for the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections. Voting is taking place for 121 seats spread over 12 States.
These are 28 seats in Karnataka, 20 in Rajasthan, 19 in Maharashtra, 11 each in Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, 10 in Madhya Pradesh, 7 in Bihar, 6 in Jharkhand, 4 in West Bengal, 3 in Chhattisgarh, and one each in Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur.
The fifth phase is witnessing the highest number of Lok Sabha seats going to the polls in a single phase.
Polling, which started at 7 AM, will end at 6 PM except in some naxal affected areas where it will end at 4 PM.
Prominent candidates whose fate will be decided in this phase are Sushil Kumar Shinde, Veerappa Moily, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sachin Pilot, Ajit Jogi and Nandan Nilekani of the Congress, and Maneka Gandhi, Shatrughan Sinha, Santosh Gangwar and BS Yeddyurappa of the BJP. Other prominent candidates in the fray are HD Devegowda of JDS, Supriya Sule of NCP, Misa Bharati of RJD and Jaswant Singh, an independent.
Voting is also taking place today for 77 Assembly segments in Odisha.
In Karnataka, 434 candidates including 20 women are in the fray for 28 seats. Around four crore, 60 lakh voters will cast their votes at 54,264 polling booths across the state.
In Maharashtra, polling is underway for 19 Lok Sabha seats. While 12 constituencies are in Western part of the State, six are in Marathwada region.
In Rajasthan, polling is taking place for 20 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats. Congress, BJP and Aam Aadmi Party are contesting all 20 seats.
In Uttar Pradesh, voting is taking place for 11 constituencies amidst tight security. These are Nagina, Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Amroha, Badaun, Aonla, Bareilly, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur and Kheri.
In Madhya Pradesh, polling is progressing smoothly for 10 seats in Gwalior-Chambal, Bundelkhand and Madhya regions. 142 candidates including 54 independents are in the fray for this phase.
In Chhattisgarh, polling is taking place in Maoist affected Kanker, Rajnandgaon and Mahasamund constituencies. Our correspondent reports that as balloting began at 7 in the morning, long queues were witnessed in urban areas of these three constituencies.
However, voter turnout is comparatively less in the remote areas. Amid a Maoist call for boycott, tight security arrangements have been made for conduct of free and fair elections. Armed security personnel are manning sensitive and hyper-sensitive polling stations. The fate of former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, Chief Minister Raman Singh’s son Abhishek and former minister Vikram Usendi will be captured in electronic voting machines today.
In Bihar, polling is taking place for 7 Lok Sabha constituencies. These are Patna Sahib, Patliputra, Nalanda, Jehanabad, Munger, Ara and Buxar. Our correspondent reports that foolproof security arrangements have been made for peaceful and fair polling.
In West Bengal, four Parliamentary constituencies are going to the polls today. These are Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar. 47 candidates are in the fray for these seats.
In Odisha, 98 candidates are in the fray for the Lok Sabha polls, while 747 candidates are contesting in the Assembly elections. Our correspondent reports that as many as 98 candidates including 11 women are in the fray for the Lok Sabha polls, while 747 candidates including 65 women are contesting in the Assembly elections in Odisha.
Union minister Srikant Jena of Congress and former Union minister Arjun Sethi of the BJD, are the prominent figures who are contesting in this phase of Lok Sabha elections. A host of MPs including Tathagat Satpathy, Baijayant Panda, Pinaki Mishra, Bhartruhari Mahtab of ruling BJD are also seeking re-election to Lok Sabha.
High-profile leaders of different political parties and a number of ministers in the Naveen Patnaik government are also trying their luck in the Assembly elections. Disruption of election process by the Maoists during the first phase of polling in 10 Lok Sabha and 70 Assembly constituencies in the state last week has prompted the election authorities to further strengthen the security arrangements, especially in Maoist-affected Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Jajpur districts.
A total of 406 companies of armed police have been deployed in different areas for the smooth conduct of the polls. Of the 18,692 polling booths, 2,270 have been identified as sensitive or hyper-sensitive booths. Meanwhile, the Election Commission has also decided to conduct re-polling in 22 booths today where polling was disrupted during the first phase for various reasons including, snatching, destruction and burning of electronics voting machines by Maoists.