Stage set for phase 1
Over 1,100 candidates on Monday stepped up their door-to-door campaign in a last ditch effort to woo the voters as the stage was set for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in 140 constituencies spread over 13 states and three union territories that go to polls on April 20.
As many as 1,103 candidates are in fray for the first phase of elections that would decide the fates of Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, 8 Union ministers, 2 former Lok Sabha speakers, a former prime minister and three former chief ministers, among others.
The Election Commission was busy giving final touches to ensure smooth and peaceful polling and security personnel were deployed in strength in all the constituencies, specially in sensitive areas.
Tight security arrangements have been made in Jammu and Kashmir where two constituencies go to poll on Tuesday in the light of threats from Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist outfits to disrupt poll process.
Contingents of CRPF, CISF, BSF and ITBP have been stationed specially in Naxalite-affected regions of Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The first phase of polls will also cover Assembly elections in 147 of the 294 constituencies in Andhra Pradesh, 120 out of 224 seats in Karnataka and 77 out of 147 seats in Orissa.
Elections for the 14th Lok Sabha are being held in five phases, on April 20, April 22, April 26, May 5 and May 10. Counting will be taken up on May 13.
Despite the rising mercury, top NDA leaders from all parties, including Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, addressed election meeting in different parts of the country.