Four states – Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim – are went to polls on Thursday to elect a new state government. Voting in 175, 57, 28 and 32 Assembly seats, respectively, took place simultaneously with the first phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections. Results of these four Assembly elections will be declared on May 23.
The Election Commission said on Thursday that it had to replace 42 electronic voting machines out of the 92,000 it has used in the state, due to complaints of malfunctioning. However, State Chief Electoral Officer Gopal Krishna Dwivedi told PTI that there were technical glitches in EVMs at 50 places.
At least 100 EVMs allegedly malfunctioned in Prakasam district of the state, The Hindu reported. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has written to the election body asking for a re-poll.
“Vote for change, vote without fear,” YSR Congress Party chief Jagan Mohan Reddy said at a polling booth in Pulivendula after casting his vote, NDTV reported. “I am very confident. It will go well I guess. I am pretty sure people are looking for a change. I hope it would happen.”
Over 3.93 crore voters will decide the fate of 2,118 candidates in 175 constituencies. Naidu is seeking re-election from Kuppam. He has been elected six times consecutively from here.
Kuppam used to be a nondescript town on the edge of Andhra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu that shot to fame after Naidu became the chief minister. 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.
“It will be a decisive win in Mangalpuri and across the state,” Nara Lokesh said on Thursday, ANI reported. “I am here to convince my electorate that I am a meaningful and a worthy candidate, and I think I’ve done that.”
Anti-incumbency, caste and corruption are some of the key factors. In 2014, the TDP won 101 seats, YSR Congress 68, the Bharatiya Janata Party four seats, Navodayam Party one and an Independent one.
Fifty-seven seats in 60-member Arunachal Pradesh Assembly are voting on Thursday as the ruling BJP has already won three seats unopposed. As many as 181 candidates are in the fray. Eleven of them are women.
The polling percentage in the state was 27.48% till 11 am, the Election Commission said.
The BJP has fielded candidates in all the 57 Assembly seats, while the Congress is contesting in 46 seats, the National People’s Party in 30 seats, Janata Dal (United) in 15, Janata Dal (Secular) in 12, People’s Party of Arunachal in nine and the All India Party in one seat. There are also 11 independents in the fray.
Over 4 lakh voters will elect a 32-member Assembly. Prominent candidates in the fray include Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kimar Chamling, who is seeking a record eighth successive term as an MLA. He is contesting from two Assembly seats – Poklok-Kamrang and Namchi-Singhithang.
Apart from the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front and opposition party Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, this time there is another political outfit in the fray. Former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia’s Hamro Sikkim Party is hoping for a good debut. Bhutia himself is contesting in two Assembly seats. In 2014, the Sikkim Democratic Front won 22 seats while the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha had bagged 10 seats.
Voting is under way in 28 out of 147 Assembly seats. Over 60 lakh voters will exercise their franchise to choose among 191 candidates.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has won four consecutive terms in office. However, this time he is facing a strong anti-incumbency wave. In 2014, the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal won 118 Assembly seats while the Congress and BJP bagged 16 and 10, respectively. Three seats went to Independents and others.