Ninety-five Lok Sabha seats across 11 states and one Union Territory will vote on Thursday in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections. The first phase of polls were held on April 11 and saw a voter turnout of over 69%. Assembly elections will also be held in Odisha, and bye-elections in 18 seats in Tamil Nadu will be held.
Voting will be conducted between 7 am and 6 pm. Parts of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal will vote on Thursday. Puducherry, a Union Territory with one seat, will also go to polls.
The Lok Sabha election in Vellore, scheduled for Thursday, was cancelled amid allegations of suspected use of money to influence voters. Polling in Tripura East Lok Sabha seat too was postponed to April 23 over law and order considerations.
Thirty-eight constituencies of the state will vote on Thursday in a single phase, while bye-elections to 18 Assembly seats will be held simultaneously. These are the first elections in the state after the deaths of Tamil Nadu luminaries M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is contesting in 20 seats, while its ally, the BJP, has got five seats. The remaining seats have been divided between other alliance partners. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, who is in alliance with the Congress and others as part of the Secular Progressive Alliance, will fight 20 seats while the Congress contest from 10 seats. Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam is also considered a key player in these elections.
Among the key constituencies in the state is that of Kanyakumari – the lone seat that the BJP won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The party has fielded Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan against H Vasanthakumar of the Congress from there.
From Sivaganga, the Congress has fielded P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram against the BJP’s H Raja, while in Thoothukudi, it is former DMK chief Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi against BJP state chief Tamilisai Soundararajan. Former Union minister Dayanidhi Maran, who is facing trial in an illegal telephone exchange case, will contest from Chennai Central, which he has represented two times in the past. Former Union minister A Raja is contesting his third elections from Nilgiris on a DMK ticket against M Thiagarajan of the AIADMK. Salem is also an important constituency as the chief minister’s seat Edappadi falls under this Lok Sabha seat.
In Puducherry Union Territory, former Chief Minister V Vaithilingam will contest for the Congress.
As many as 241 candidates are in the fray in the first round of elections in the state. Of the 14 constituencies that go to polls today, the Mandya, Hassan and Tumkur seats are significant because former Prime Minister HD Devegowda and his two grandsons are contesting from there. Devegowda is contesting from Tumkur and giving his native Hassan parliament constituency to his grandson Prajwal Revanna. In Tumkur, Devegowda will fight against GS Basavaraju from BJP.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Gowda will be the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular)’s candidate against Sumalatha, wife of former state minister Ambareesh, in Mandya. Sumalatha is an independent candidate, but has garnered open support from the BJP and unofficial support from several miffed Congress workers. Devegowda’s other grandson Prajwal Revanna has been pitted against disgruntled former Congress minister A Manju, who is contesting on a BJP ticket in Hassan.
The BJP has fielded debutant 28-year-old Tejasvi Surya from Bangalore South, which was held previously by late Union minister Ananth Kumar. The party surprised many people by giving the seat to the newcomer after it was assumed it would be given to Ananth Kumar’s wife Tejaswini Kumar. Surya is pitted against Congress’ BK Hariprasad from the seat which has been the BJP’s bastion for 28 years. From Mysore-Kodagu seat, the Congress’s CH Vijayashankar is up against BJP MP Pratap Simha.
Former Union minister and Congress leader M Veerappa Moily is seeking re-election from Chikkaballapur constituency. It is Gowda versus Gowda in Bengaluru North as the contest is between Union minister Sadananda Gowda and Congress’ Karnataka minister Krishna Byre Gowda.
Jammu and Kashmir
Nine districts will be covered in two parliamentary constituencies – Srinagar and Udhampur. The polls in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency will be a triangular contest between former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is looking to retain his seat, Peoples Conference candidate Irfan Ansar and Agha Mohsin of the Peoples Democratic Party. The results will be significant as they come ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, which are expected to be held later this year.
The BJP has fielded sitting MP and Union minister Jitendra Singh from the Udhampur-Doda parliamentary constituency against Congress candidate Vikramaditya Singh, the grandson of erstwhile Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir Hari Singh. Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party’s Harsh Dev Singh and recently floated Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan candidate Lal Singh are also contesting from the seat.
West Bengal’s Raiganj Lok Sabha seat has 14 candidates, including five independents, in the fray. There are nearly 1.6 million voters in the constituency. The constituency, a former Congress bastion, was won by Communist Party of India (Marxist) Mohammed Salim in 2014 by a thin margin. Salim is contesting again to retain his seat. The ruling party of West Bengal Trinamool Congress has fielded Kanhaialal Agarwal from the seat, the BJP has decided to field Debasree Chaudhri and the Congress candidate is Deepa Dasmunsi.
In Darjeeling, the BJP, which has promised a “permanent solution to the issue of Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri Terai and Dooars region”, has fielded Raju Singh Bisht. Regional parties Gorkha National Liberation Front and Bimal Gurung-led faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha extended support to the BJP candidate. Darjeeling, which witnessed a widespread agitation for Gorkhaland in 2017, will also see contest between Trinamool Congress candidate Amar Singh Rai and Congress’s Shankar Malakar.
In Uttar Pradesh, Bollywood actors Hema Malini and Raj Babbar have been fielded from Mathura and Fatehpur Sikri by the BJP and Congress. Nine candidates are in fray for the reserved Agra seat. While BJP has replaced its sitting MP Ram Shankar Katheria with SP Singh Baghel, a state minister, in Agra, the Bahujan Samaj Party-Samajwadi Party alliance has fielded Manoj Soni. Aligarh will see a triangular fight between BJP’s Satish Gautam, BSP’s Ajit Baliyan and Congress’ Bijendra Singh.
Sixty-eight candidates are contesting for Bihar’s five Lok Sabha seats – Bhagalpur, Banka, Katihar, Kishanganj and Purnia. The BJP in 2014 had lost all the five seats. This time, its ally Janata Dal (United) is contesting from these constituencies. Former Nationalist Congress Party leader Tariq Anwar is contesting from Katihar against JD(U) candidate Dulal Chandra Goswami.
In Assam’s Silchar, among 13 candidates are Congress’ Sushmita Devi and BJP’s Rajdeep Roy. Karimganj, a reserved constituency, will see a fight between sitting AIUDF MP Radheyshyam Biswas, BJP’s Kripanath Mallah, and Congress candidate Swarup Das.
In Maharashtra, the Congress won only two seats in 2014 Nanded and Hingoli. Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who resigned in 2010 for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh housing scam, is contesting again from Nanded, against Pratap Patil Chikkalikar of the BJP.
In Odisha, elections in five Lok Sabha seats will be held along with 35 Assembly seats. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is contesting from Bijepur in Bargarh today.
Here is a state-wise list of constituencies that will vote on April 18:
Assam: Five constituencies
- Autonomous district (which includes Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong districts)
Bihar: Five constituencies
Chhattisgarh: Three constituencies
Jammu and Kashmir: Two constituencies
Karnataka: 14 constituencies
- Udupi Chikmagalur
- Dakshina Kannada
- Bangalore Rural
- Bangalore North
- Bangalore Central
- Bangalore South
Maharashtra: 10 constituencies
Manipur: One constituency
- Inner Manipur
Odisha: Five constituencies
Tamil Nadu: 38 constituencies
- Chennai North
- Chennai South
- Chennai Central
Uttar Pradesh: Eight constituencies
- Fatehpur Sikri
West Bengal: Three constituencies
Puducherry: One constituency