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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Voting for mega Lok Sabha election ends; exit polls up next

The Election Commission had set the election process in motion on March 10 with its formal announcement. Political parties moved swiftly into action finalizing candidates, charting campaigns and talking shop with allies.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 19, 2019 17:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
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Voters stand in queues to cast their votes during the last phase of Lok Sabha elections. (Photo by Santosh Kumar / Hindustan Times)

Voting for the marathon seven-phase national elections to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha has ended and will be followed by exit polls. The election process, spread over a staggering 71 days and 7 phases, was one of the most-acrimoniously fought with the National Democratic Alliance led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a second term in office and the Opposition attempting to dent its chances.

The Election Commission had set the election process in motion on March 10 with its formal announcement. Political parties moved swiftly into action finalizing candidates, charting campaigns and talking shop with allies. What followed was some high-decibel campaign, hardcore politics, twitter wars, violence and verbal spats.

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The campaign saw the principal opponents, PM Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, among others, crisscrossing the country and claiming to be on course to win the people’s mandate.

West Bengal, with its 42 Lok Sabha seats, was the epicenter of the most bitter showdown between the ruling Trinamool and the BJP, which is hopeful of making gains in the state. It started with Mamata Banerjee sitting on a 45-hour dharna at Esplanade in a stand-off with the Centre triggered by the CBI landing a Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar’s house to question him in the Saradha chit fund case.

This was followed by a string of violent incidents, denial of permissions for rallies, allegations of both capturing and intimidation of voters. West Bengal, which voted in all seven phases, witnessed violence in each phase with BJP MP Babul Supriyo among other party candidates alleging attacks by Trinamool workers.

The clamour reached a crescendo during BJP chief Amit Shah’s roadshow when a bust icon Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalized. Both the Trinamool and BJP blamed each other for the damage to the statue.

First Published: May 19, 2019 17:40 IST

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