Lok Sabha elections | All you need to know: 91 seats in 20 states goes to polls in first phase
What is being called the great “festival of democracy” - the Lok Sabha elections - began on Thursday with 91 seats across 20 states going to vote in the first of the seven phase elections to elect the 17th Lok Sabha.
While many states will witness elections in multiple phases, states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, and Odisha will witness elections in single phases. Over the seven phases, the elections will cover 543 constituencies. The results, or counting of votes, will take place on May 23.
The main parties that are contesting the Lok Sabha polls are the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. Leaders from the two parties have been criss-crossing the country almost every day in and holding three to four rallies in different locations in a bid to garner as many votes as possible for their parties. Among the top speakers at the various political rallies have been Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
In Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have joined hands with Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), to fight the BJP together in the state.
Opposition parties have come together to form alliances in different states as well to put up a stiff fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling party, which had achieved an absolute majority with 282 seats in its kitty out of 543 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress had been left far behind with just 44 seats.
This time around, the BJP is banking on the work it has done in the past five years, while the Congress is contesting the elections on the poll planks of jobs, minimum income guarantee and has been raising the issues of the Rafale deal, farmer suicides among others.
Voting for the first phase of elections began at 7 am in most of the constituencies.
The 20 states that are voting in the first phase of elections are: Andhra Pradesh (25 seats), Arunachal Pradesh (2 ), Assam (5), Bihar (4), Chhattisgarh (1), Jammu and Kashmir (2), Maharashtra (7), Manipur (1), Meghalaya (2), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Odisha (4), Sikkim (1), Telangana (17), Tripura (1), Uttar Pradesh (8), Uttarakhand (5), West Bengal (2), Andaman (1) and Lakshadweep (1).
The constituencies that will go to vote across the 20 states are:
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After the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) landslide victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi on a thanksgiving visit on Monday.He marked his visit by offering prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple before heading to address party workers.Modi won the Varanasi parliamentary seat by a margin 4,79,505 votes, defeating his nearest rival Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.Follow highlights here: