Ninety-one Lok Sabha seats across 18 states and two Union Territories will vote on Thursday. This includes most of the states in the North East region – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
The other states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. The Union Territories that will vote are the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep.
According to the Election Commission, this is the third-biggest of the phases in terms of the number of seats, with more than 14 crore voters. The EC said 1,279 candidates will contest from these 91 seats.
Some of the more prominent seats are Bastar in Chhattisgarh – where a Maoist attack took place just two days before polling, killing the sitting MLA and four others – Jammu and Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir, Coochbehar in West Bengal, and Wardha, Gadchiroli, Nagpur, and Yavatmal in Maharashtra, Tura in Meghalaya, and West Arunachal.
Among the seats voting on Thursday, Tura in Meghalaya is especially significant as Agatha Sangma of the Nationalist Congress Party will contest against former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma. Agatha Sangma had held the seat after winning the 2009 election from there. National People’s Party’s Conrad Sangma is the current Tura MP. The BJP’s Rickman G Momim is also standing from Tura.
Union minister Kiren Rijiju will stand in West Arunachal against the NPP’s Khyoda Apik, and Congress candidate Nabam Tuki. Nabam Tuki was the chief minister till he was ousted in 2016. The seat also has its first ever woman candidate, Jarjum Ete of the Janata Dal (Secular). Seven candidates are contesting from the seat.
Jammu and Kashmir
The contest in Jammu is between the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jugal Kishore, and Raman Bhalla of the Congress. Local parties had decided not to field candidates so as to not “split the secular vote”. Sharma is the current MP. In Baramulla, candidates from the BJP, Congress, National Conference, and Peoples Democratic Party will contest. The current MP is the PDP’s Muzaffar Hussain Baig.
Although the Congress and the National Conference announced a pre-poll alliance in the state, there will be a “friendly contest” between them for the Anantnag and Baramulla seats. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had said a “friendly contest” means that there will be no “cut-throat contest” between the Congress and National Conference in Anantnag and Baramulla. “If either party wins, it is a win-win situation for both of us,” he had said.
There had been criticism because the Election Commission has not yet announced dates for the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections. Officials had cited lack of security forces as the reason, especially after a suicide attack in Pulwama on February 14, in which 40 jawans had been killed.
The EC has said that enough security has been deployed in the state, and in Chhattisgarh, following security concerns. “All arrangements including a security plan for the polling day have been finalised for free, fair and transparent conduct of elections,” IANS had quoted an official as saying.
Bastar is the only seat in the state that goes to the polls today. The Bastar seat comprises eight Assembly seats including seven in the Scheduled Tribes category.
Seven candidates are contesting from Bastar, including the Congress’ Deepak Baij and Baiduram Kashyap of the BJP. The BJP had denied a ticket to sitting MP Dinesh Kashyap and gave it instead to Kashyap, who is its Bastar district chief, reported NDTV. The Bahujan Samaj Party and Communist Party of India also have candidates for the seat.
Over 1.5 crore voters are registered across eight constituencies that will vote on Thursday. The state’s 80 seats will vote in seven phases.
In 2014, the BJP had won all the eight seats but this time analysts predict the Bahujan Samaj Party-Samajwadi Party will make a dent in the saffron party’s vote share. Three Union ministers who are incumbent MPs – VK Singh (Ghaziabad), Satyapal Singh (Baghpat), and Mahesh Sharma (Gautam Buddha Nagar) – will contest.
Muzaffarnagar – where there were riots in 2013 – will vote on Thursday. More than 60 people had died in violence a few months before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. After the riots, the BJP’s Sanjeev Balyan had won the seat by a margin of more than 4 lakh votes. Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh will contest against Balyan. In Kairana, where the BJP had claimed there was an “exodus of Hindu” families, the party’s Raghav Lakhanpal will stand against Tabassum Begum of the Samajwadi Party and Imran Masood of the Congress.
In Baghpat, Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary will contest against minister Satyapal Singh.
Seven seats in the state will vote on Thursday, including Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s seat Nagpur. The region has seen heavyweights, including BJP chief Amit Shah in Nagpur, Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Nagpur and Wardha, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Wardha and Gondiya, campaigning.
Gadkari will contest from Nagpur again, while another Union minister, Hansraj Ahir, is standing from Chandrapur.
The state is holding simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha election.
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is standing from his bastion Kuppam. He has been elected six times consecutively from here. Kuppam used to be a non-descript town on the edge of Andhra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu that shot to fame after Naidu became the chief minister.
In Gajuwaka, Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan will take on YSR Congress’ T Nagi Reddy. YSR Congress chief Jagan Reddy will stand from Pulivendula, where he won in 2014 with a margin of over 75,000 votes.
Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh is contesting from Mangalgiri. He will take on YSR Congress’ sitting MLA Alla Ramakrishna Reddy. The seat is considered a strong one for the Telugu Desam Party — in 2014, the party candidate lost by just 12 votes.
Coochbehar is one of two seats that vote on Thursday, the other being Alipurduar. Two days before voting, the Election Commission had transferred the superintendent of police of Coochbehar to ensure fair polling. The ruling Trinamool Congress had claimed the move was influenced by the BJP. In Alipurduar, TMC’s sitting MP Dasrath Tirkey will contest against BJP’s John Barla. It is one of the seats that the BJP is expected to win according to surveys ahead of the polls. Coochbehar is a Scheduled Caste seat while Alipurduar is reserved for ST.
Here is a state-wise list of constituencies that will vote on April 11:
Andhra Pradesh: 25 constituencies
Arunachal Pradesh: 2 constituencies
- Arunachal Pradesh West
- Arunachal Pradesh East
Assam: 5 constituencies
Bihar: 4 constituencies
Chhattisgarh: 1 constituency
Jammu and Kashmir: 2 constituencies
Maharashtra: 7 constituencies
Manipur: 1 constituency
- Outer Manipur
Meghalaya: 2 constituencies
Mizoram: 1 constituency
Nagaland: 1 constituency
Odisha: 4 constituencies
Sikkim: 1 constituency
Telangana: 17 constituencies
Tripura: 1 constituency
- Tripura west
Uttar Pradesh: 8 constituencies
- Gautam Buddha Nagar
Uttarakhand: 5 constituencies
- Tehri Garhwal
- Nanital-Udhamsingh Nagar
West Bengal: 2 constituencies
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands: 1 seat
- Lakshwadeep: 1 seat