Campaigning ends for first major phase of polling

Campaigning ends for first major phase of polling

With high-decibel campaigning ending on Tuesday, the stage is set for the third phase of Lok Sabha polls where the electorate will exercise its franchise in 92 Parliamentary constituencies spread over 11 states and three Union Territories on Thursday.

This will be the first major phase in the nine-day polling of the Lok Sabha elections as nearly one-fifth of the constituencies are going to polls on Thursday. Six constituencies went to polls in the first phase on April 7 and the electorate will cast ballots in an equal number of constituencies in the North-East on Wednesday.
An estimated 1.27 crore voters will decide the fate of 150 candidates including several big names — Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar,  Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, Ajay Maken and Shashi Tharoor (all from Congress), Ajit Singh of RLD and former Army chief V K Singh (BJP).

Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan, former DPCC chief J P Agarwal and Sandeep Dikshit, son of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi and singer Manoj Tiwari are other prominent contestants who will also face the electorate.

Political leaders were busy wooing voters in states where polls are being held in the third phase before the curtain fell on Tuesday, ending the high-drama campaign trail which saw hate speeches, allegations and counter allegations hurled by parties and candidates.

In Delhi, Kerala and Haryana, the election will be held in a single phase on Thursday, while states like Madhya Pradesh (9 seats), Uttar Pradesh (10 seats), Bihar (6 seats), Maharashtra (10 seats), Odisha (10 seats) and Jharkhand (5 seats) will see multi-phased polling. Meanwhile, the second phase of voting for seven constituencies, mainly North-Eastern states including Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland will be held on Wednesday. Election to one Lok Sabha seat in Mizoram has been deferred to April 11 in view of a three-day shutdown and poll boycott.

Ten of the 80 constituencies in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh will go to polls on Thursday. They include communally-sensitive and riot-hit Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Kairana, Aligarh, Bijnore, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautambudh Nagar and Bulandshahar.

Prominent among those contesting in this phase are Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh in his traditional Baghpat constituency, his party colleague actor Jaya Prada in Bijnore, actors Nagma from Meerut and Raj Babbar from Ferozabad.

The campaign for the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and 10 seats in Haryana also wound up with a showdown between the Congress, the BJP and the new entrant AAP.

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