Lok Sabha elections 2019: Stage set for second phase polling, key battles on the cards
New Delhi, Apr 17: The stage is set for the second phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 on Thursday during which 95 parliamentary constituencies spread across 12 states and one Union Territories (UTs) would be casting their ballot. As per the original schedule released by the Election Commission on March 10, 97 seats were to vote on Thursday, but the election Tamil Nadu's Vellore has been cancelled and the polling Tripura was deferred.
During the second phase, the polling will be held in 38 seats in Tamil Nadu, 14 seats in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, three each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one seat in Manipur and Puducherry.
In Odisha, besides the five Lok Sabha seats, polling will also be held for 35 assembly constituencies. 91 seats went to polls in the first phase.
Some crucial seats in eastern India like Silchar and Karimganj in Assam; Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal.
Silchar and Karimganj are areas where the Citizenship Ammendment Bill (CAB) is said to have support. Sitting MP from Silchar is Congress's Sushmita Dev and the BJP has made it amply clear that winning is Silchar is one of their top priorities in Assam. Darjeeling is one of the two seats in West Bengal where the BJP won in 2014. With the BJP looking to make in roads in Bengal, retaining Darjeeling and Asansol is key.
The election results of Tamil Nadu have always played an important role in the government formation at the Centre. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) are the two strong regional political parties of the state, with whom the Congress and the BJP have formed a pre-poll alliance to better their national tally.
In Karnataka, which sends 28 Mps to the Lok Sabha, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in last year's assembly elections but was unable to form a government after Congress and JD(S) joined hands. The BJP would like to cash on the bickering in the ruling alliance in the state which has been an important part on the saffron party's narrative.
In the political crucial Uttar Pradesh, important seats like Mathura, Agra and Aligarh are going to vote along with five other Lok Sabha seats. BJP's MP from Mathura, actor turned politician Hema Malini, is not only battling the anti-incumbency but also constant attack from the opposition for allegedly neglecting the constituency, is seeking a second term. Not far from Mathura, another actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar, a Congress leader, is contesting from Fatehpur Sikri. His main fight would be against BJP's Raj Kumar Chahar and BSP's Bhagwan Sharma. In Aligarh, the main contest is between sitting BJP MP Satish Gautam and Congress' Bijendra Singh, who was the MP from here in 2004.
In Bihar, interesting electoral battle is on the cards in Katihar where sitting MP Tariq Anwar, who recently quit the NCP and joined Congress, would take on JD(U)'s Dulal Chandra Goswami.
Other important leaders whose fate would be decided tomorrow are Union ministers Jual Oram, Sadananda Gowda and Pon Radhakrishnan, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, Congress leaders Verappa Moily, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, and DMK's Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja and Kanimozhi.
The Lok Sabha polls are being held in seven-phases for 543 seats on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19, and counting will be on May 23.