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All set for voting on 102 seats as world’s biggest election kicks off

Published:

NEW DELHI: With 16.63 crore

voters

ready to decide the fate of 1625 candidates, India is all set to kickstart the 2024

Lok Sabha elections

with

Phase 1

on Friday.
The high-voltage electioneering for the biggest Phase came to an end at 5pm on Wednesday with the commencement of a 48-hour silence period, as per the Model Code of Conduct.

Phase 1 will witness polling on 102 Parliamentary Constituencies in 21 states and UTs and 92 Assembly Constituencies in Arunachal and Sikkim, making it the biggest phase out of all.

Voting will begin from 7am till 6pm.

General elections will be held in 7 phases and the votes will be counted on June 4.

lspf.

‘Climb down mountains, fly by choppers, to ensure nobody misses out’

EC in its two years of “rigorous” preparations has set up 1.87 lakh polling stations with 18 lakh polling officials deployed to welcome 16.63 voters.
“Whether the polling officers have to climb down mountains, go through rivers or fly by choppers, the Election Commission is doing its job to ensure that nobody misses out on their voting rights,” EC official W Moning Belgit told Reuters.

Calling it the “world’s largest election mobilisation exercise of man and material”, EC shared multiple posts on X with polling officials with EVMs and voting materials preparing for the elections in Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir among others.

Scores of voting officers have been flown to remote places in the rocky Himalayas, as well as the Maoist-hit constituency of Gadchiroli-Chimur, where 850 polling staff are being dispatched, according to the election board.

Webcasting, flying squads to ensure ‘peace and purity’ of elections

In order to ensure a “free, fair, peaceful, accessible, participative and inducement” poll, EC has made arrangements for webcasting to be done in more than 50 % of the polling stations.
Further, 361 observers have been deployed to ensure the “peace and purity” of the elections.
“They serve as the eyes and ears of the Commission to exercise utmost vigilance. Additionally, Special Observers have been deployed in certain states,” EC said in a statement.
“A total of 4627 Flying Squads, 5208 Statistics Surveillance Teams, 2028 Video Surveillance Teams and 1255 Video Viewing Teams are keeping surveillance round the clock to strictly and swiftly deal with any form of inducement of voters”, it added.

A Numerical throwback to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections

Securing 37.3% of the votes polled, the BJP swept the 2019 general elections with 303 seats, 21 more than the 2014 elections.
Meanwhile, Congress secured 52 seats, 8 more than the 2014 elections.
An interesting trend in the past two general elections is decrease in the seat share of other regional parties, increasing BJP’s seat share.
In 2014, other regional parties won 203 seats which reduced to 173 in the 2019 elections.

Over the years, the saffron party has seen a continuous rise in the number of seats won until 1999. After witnessing a steep fall for next two general elections, BJP redeemed itself with a steep increase in the seat share.
Meanwhile, the grand old party has seen a fall in seat share over the years except 2004 and 2009 general elections.

year-on-year-trend

Lok Sabha polls: Year-on-year trend of seats won by parties

Key constituencies to contest in the first Phase

Udhampur parliamentary constituency in Jammu and Kashmir is all set to witness its first poll battle since the abrogation of Article 370.
It will decide the destiny of 12 candidates, including Union minister Jitendra Singh, who is seeking a third term and faces a strong challenge from Congress contender Choudhary Lal Singh.
Maoists affected Bastar witnessed a high-voltage campaign with the constituency going to polls in the first Phase. Promises of ending “Naxal violence” dominated public platforms a day after 29 Maoists were killed in an encounter in the city.

Other key constituencies to go to polls in the first Phase

  • Uttar Pradesh – Saharanpur, Rampur, Pilibhit, Muzzafarnagar
  • Assam – Dibrugarh, Sonitpur
  • Bihar – Jamui, Gaya
  • Madhya Pradesh – Chhindwara
  • Tamil Nadu – Chennai North, Chennai South, Chennai Central, Coimbatore, Thoothukkudi, Tirunelveli, Kanniyakumari
  • Manipur- Inner Manipur, Outer Manipur
  • Rajasthan – Bikaner
  • West Bengal – Cooch Behar, Alipurduars

Key candidates to contest in the first Phase

  • Chirag Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party chief) – Jamui
  • Nitin Gadkari (BJP)- Nagpur
  • Nakul Nath (son of Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath) – Chhindwara
  • K Annamalai (Tamil Nadu BJP chief) – Coimbatore
  • Tamilisai Soundararajan (former Governor of Telangana) – Chennai South
  • Kanimozhi Karunanidhi – Thoothukkudi
  • Jitin Prasada (He has been fielded by the BJP in place of Varun Gandhi) – Pilibhit
  • Nisith Pramanik – Cooch Behar

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