Election authorities gear up for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Election officials aware people about the EVM and VVPAT machines at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Saturday, April 6, 2019. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Election officials aware people about the EVM and VVPAT machines at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Saturday, April 6, 2019. (PTI Photo)

The election authorities are fully geared up for conducting free and fair polls on Thursday.

In the first phase of polling on April 11, a total of 91 parliamentary constituencies spread across 20 states will go to polls. The remaining six-phase will be held on April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 29. Results will be declared on May 23.

25 seats of Andhra Pradesh, 17 of Telangana, 8 seats of Uttar Pradesh7 seats of Maharashtra, 5 seats each of Assam and Uttarakhand, 4 each of Bihar and Odisha, 2 of Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and West Bengal and one seat each of Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Andaman and Lakshadweep are going to polls in the first phase.

In the key candidates in the first phase, Congress has pitted former BJP leader Nana Patole against senior BJP leader cum Union minister Nitin Gadkari from the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra.

A tough fight also awaits Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on his home turf the Arunachal West constituency. He is facing former Chief Minister Congress’ Nabam Tuki

In Uttarakhand’s Almora seat, BJP’s sitting parliamentarian Ajay Tamta faces Congress’ Pradeep Tamta

In Jammu and Kashmir’s Jammu Lok Sabha seat, BJP candidate Jugal Kishore Sharma is hoping for re-election. National Conference is supporting Congress candidate ex-Minister Raman Bhalla from this constituency. PDP too has opted for not fielding any candidate.

Apart from Lok Sabha elections, April 11th will also witness one phased Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and First phase of 4 phased assembly elections in Odisha.

The election authorities have fully geared up for conducting free and fair polls on Thursday. The voting time in most of the Parliamentary Constituencies going to polls in the first phase is between 7am-6pm, except for the left-wing extremism affected areas and the North East States.

In Telangana, a total of 443 candidates are in the fray for 17 Lok Sabha Constituencies. Telangana Chief Electoral officer Dr Rajat Kumar informed that all necessary arrangements have been put in place including Nizamabad where 185 candidates are in the contest and 12 ballot units are being used. 2.97 crore electors will be utilizing their franchise at 34604 polling stations.

In Uttar Pradesh, as the cacophony of electioneering fell silent, candidates and their supporters are engaging in inter-personal canvassing now.

In Uttarakhand, voting for five parliamentary seats will be held in the first phase. All preparations for peaceful polling have been completed.

In Assam, polling will be held at 5 seats – Lakhimpur, Tezpur, Kaliabor, Dibrugarh and Jorhat seats in the first phase.

In Tripura too, all necessary arrangements have been taken to conduct free and fair polls. There will be webcasting facility in polling booths. The total voting process will be video graphed.

In Arunachal Pradesh, 7.98 lakh voters will decide the fate of 181 candidates who are in the fray for 60- seat Assembly elections. There are 12 candidates for the 2-seat Lok Sabha Polls. There are 2202 polling stations in the state, out of which 643 have been identified as critical polling stations. Live webcasting will be done from 150 polling stations and offline recording will be done at other Polling stations to conduct free and fair elections. There are 91 all women polling stations. 45 companies of paramilitary forces along with 7566 state police personnel, have been deployed across the state for a smooth election process.

Meghalaya which has two Parliamentary Constituencies, Shillong and Tura will also go to polls in the first phase. Bye-poll to Selsella seat is also scheduled to be held on April 11.

Seven seats from Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region will also go to polls in the first phase.

In Chhattisgarh, Maoist affected tribal Bastar constituency, will go to polls in the first phase. More than 1,800 polling stations have been set up out of these, 512 are identified as sensitive and 224 are hypersensitive. Elaborate security arrangements are in place to ensure free, fair and peaceful polling.

A total of 15 candidates are in the fray for the lone seat of Andaman and Nicobar Parliamentary Constituency which will go to polls in the first phase. Special camps were held in different parts of the Islands to enrol the new voters. Special arrangements have also been made for Divyanjans to take part in the election.