LS Phase 2: No Votes Cast in 90 Booths of Srinagar LS Seat
Tripura East, which was scheduled to vote in the second phase, will now vote in the third phase.
Voting in 42 constituencies in nine states concluded amid reports of EVM malfunctioning in UP, Bihar, Assam and Maharashtra. Incidents of violence are being reported from West Bengal, where the police used tear gas to disperse the crowd blocking NH 34 to protest not being allowed to cast votes. A CPI(M) candidate's car was also vandalised, allegedly by TMC supporters.
Ten seats in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, three each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in J&K and one seat in Manipur are polling today.
For live updates on polling in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, click here.
Catch all the live updates for constituencies voting in South India here.
BJP Won Nine of the 10 Maharashtra Seats in 2014
Out of the 10 seats that are in contention in the second phase of polling, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance had won nine seats in 2014, while the left over seat of Nanded was won by the Congress. The BJP-Sena alliance, as per the reports, is pulling all resources to win back these nine seats.
Facing the saffron alliance, is the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) comprising of the Congress, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party and 54 other parties and non-government organisations, that will try to play the anti-incumbency card against the BJP-Sena alliance.
In Odisha, the ruling BJD dominates 4 out of 5 Odisha constituencies voting in this phase. Since Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik’s BJD has ruled for two decades straight, the BJP is hoping to make inroads this year.
35 of the 147 Assembly seats in Odisha will also vote simultaneously on 18 April.
Four Reserved and Four General Seats to Vote in UP
In Uttar Pradesh, four general and four reserved seats will witness polling in the second phase. While Bulandshahr, Nagina, Hathras and Agra are reserved constituencies, Amroha, Aligarh, Mathura and Fatehpur Sikri are in the general category.
The eight seats voting on Thursday have a Muslim stronghold as well, with a Muslim population between 12 percent to 25 percent, Business Standard reported. Aligarh and Bulandshahr are two areas with a Muslim stronghold.
Tripura Polls Postponed Over Law and Order Concerns
The Election Commission, on Tuesday 18 April, postponed the polling in the Tripura (East) Lok Sabha seat to the third phase, on 23 April, saying the prevailing law and order situation in the state is not conducive for holding free and fair polls.
Citing reports of state chief electoral officer and special police observer, the poll panel said, "The law and order situation prevailing ... is not conducive to the holding of free and fair poll." The returning officer had feared that "miscreant elements" may thwart the polling process in the constituency. Based on the ground and intelligence reports, he had requested for additional central police force, an NDTV report said.
“Everyone saw what happened during polling on 11 April. I have travelled to different districts and saw videos where activities, which were against the rules of Election Commission of India, were seen.”Sriram Taranikanti, Chief Electoral Officer, Tripura
EC Deploys 15,000 Paramilitary Troops in West Bengal
The Election Commission will deploy nearly 194 companies of central forces, around 15,000 para-military troopers across the three constituencies – Raigunj, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling – voting on 18 April.
The rise in force deployment is about 150 percent, from 83 companies in the first phase to 194 in the second.
According to EC data, Darjeeling has 1,899 polling booths, Jalpaiguri has 1,868 booths and Raiganj has 1,623 polling stations. All these three seats combined have about 49 lakh voters.
As compared to the 15,000 troops to be deployed in the second phase, only 6,000 were there in the first phase of polling.
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