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The first phase of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls ended with violent and bloody clashes, as 91 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 states and two Union Territories (UTs), went to poll, on Thursday. An exclusive report by our Associate Editor, Navodita, for Different Truths.
Ninety-one Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 states and two Union Territories, including all in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana went to polls on Thursday in the first phase, with Nitin Gadkari, Kiren Rijiju and V.K. Singh among several Union ministers in fray. In Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha, assembly polls to 175, 32 and 28 seats, respectively were held in the first phase, as well. As the country goes to polls in seven phases, on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12, and May 19, let us look at how the day fared in its first phase of polling.
While in Andhra Pradesh there have been reports of escalating violence among TDP (Telugu Desam Party) and YSRCP workers, there is also news of death of two members of each party in a bloody clash between party members in Anantapur constituency.
While in Andhra Pradesh there have been reports of escalating violence among TDP (Telugu Desam Party) and YSRCP workers, there is also news of death of two members of each party in a bloody clash between party members in Anantapur constituency. In Cooch Behar, in West Bengal, BJP workers have been allegedly attacked by TMC (Trinamool Congress) workers. Three BJP workers have been critically wounded, while four others have also sustained injuries. At Bishramganj, in Tripura, Block Advisory Committee (BAC) chairman was attacked by goons to prevent him from casting his vote. The police had to rush to the spot to get the situation in control. In Maharashtra, IED blast near a polling station in Ettapalli, in Gadchiroli constituency, was reported. According to local reports, Naxal forces in the area sent out repeated warnings to individuals against voting. Gadchiroli-Chimur was among the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra where polling took place.
As sporadic incidents of violence marred the elections on the first day, the Election Commission tweeted the image of polling in Sikkim in its eastern constituency of Tumin saying till 11 a.m., 182 out of 1,156 voters had cast their vote.
‘Impressive voters’ turnout at Tumin East polling station located at a remote college of East Sikkim. #ECISVEEP #SpokespersonECI #PIB_India @DGNortheast #FestivalOfDemocracy #Elections2019 #SikkimElections2019’ is what Press Information Bureau of Gangtok tweeted.
In Tripura, core fight is between BJP candidate Pratima Bhaumik and Congress candidate Subal Bhowmik, who rebelled and joined Congress only a few days ago.
In Tripura, core fight is between BJP candidate Pratima Bhaumik and Congress candidate Subal Bhowmik, who rebelled and joined Congress only a few days ago. Apart from that, BJP’s coalition partner IPFT is also contesting on this seat separately. Former chief minister Samir Ranjan Barman said that the ruling government along with officials have turned this election into a farce. The opposition party has alleged that many of the Opposition polling agents have been forcefully thrown out by the BJP.
In Telangana, Renuka Chowdhury, Congress candidate from Khammam tweeted, “I am hopeful that we will be able to win this race, I am very optimistic. #LokSabhaElections2019.”
In Haridwar, the overall voter sentiment seems inclined towards the BJP, but the interior pockets, which have a significant number of Muslims and SC/ST candidates, are largely looking at the BSP as the possible alternative.
In Uttarakhand, five parliamentary constituencies of Tehri Garhwal, Haridwar, Nainital, Almora and Garhwal went to polls. In Haridwar, the overall voter sentiment seems inclined towards the BJP, but the interior pockets, which have a significant number of Muslims and SC/ST candidates, are largely looking at the BSP as the possible alternative. As for the state’s only regional party, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, it is contesting from all five seats.
In Sikkim, it’s a battle between Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) and Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM). While Chamling of SDF (chief minister of the state for 25 years) was earlier seen targeting his political rival Prem Singh Tamang. Tamang (popularly known as Golay) formed the SKM, in 2009. His rallies have drawn huge crowds ahead of the release of his party manifesto. He has made big promises to the people promising jobs to all unemployed in 100 days; an unemployment pension of Rs. 10,000 per month, smartphones to college students, colour television sets to all living below poverty line and Rs. 5 Lakh to every female head of a household in five years. All 32 Assembly constituencies and lone Lok Sabha seat went to polls today.
It’s ‘family politics’ all the way in Odisha as four father-son duos and one father-daughter are contesting in these elections – all belonging to the Congress.
In Odisha, simultaneous polling was held for Koraput, Nabarangapur, Kalahandi and Berhampur Lok Sabha constituencies and 28 Assembly seats under them. Security was heightened here as Maoists called for a poll boycott. It’s ‘family politics’ all the way in this state as four father-son duos and one father-daughter are contesting in these elections – all belonging to the Congress. While the Congress candidate for Sundargarh Lok Sabha constituency is prominent tribal leader George Tirkey, his son Rohit Joseph Tirkey is the party’s nominee in the Biramitrapur Lok Sabha constituency. The two daughters of former chief minister and veteran leader Hemananda Biswal – Sunita and Amita – are also in the fray. Sunita is the BJD nominee for Lok Sabha seat, while Amita is the Congress candidate against Tirkey’s son. Likewise, lot of candidates have been fielded along with their fathers or husbands.
The states of Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh will have seven-phase polling.
Elections will be held in single phase in 22 states; two phases in Karnataka, Manipur, Tripura and Rajasthan; while Assam and Chhattisgarh will have three-phase polling. Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha will have four-phase polling, Jammu & Kashmir will have five-phase polling. Elections to the sensitive Anantanag constituency, which includes Pulwama will be held in three phases. The states of Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh will have seven-phase polling.
The latest survey indicated that both BJP and the Congress are likely to register a four-percentage point increase in their vote share.
In the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh, there was 64 percent voter turnout. Tripura registered the highest voter turnout at 81.8 percent. The latest survey indicated that both BJP and the Congress are likely to register a four-percentage point increase in their vote share. However, in the case of the BJP, the rise is not accompanied by a corresponding increase in its seat share. Despite increase in vote share, the BJP is likely to lose seats due to a more united Opposition in some key states. However, the party seems to be ahead of its rivals on account of the support it enjoys among critical social groups. So, let us wait and watch until all the phases of voting have been completed. The fight could be neck and neck.
Photos from the Internet