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Stage set for 2nd phase of LS poll covering 11 states, 1 UT

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Union ministers Jitendra Singh, Jual Oram, Sadananda and Pon Radhakrishnan, former H D Deve and DMK's Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja and Kanimozhi are among the 1,600-odd contestants in the second phase of polls to be held in 95 seats Thursday across 11 states and the union territory of Puducherry.

Thirty eight of the 39 seats in will go to polls besides 18 assembly constituencies. Polling in Vellore seat, which is currently represented by the AIADMK, was cancelled Tuesday by the following recovery of huge amount of cash allegedly from an associate of a recently.

The EC also announced postponement of polling in (East) Lok Sabha seat to the third phase on April 23, saying the prevailing there is not conducive for holding free and fair polls.

Besides Tamil Nadu, polling will also be held in 14 seats in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, and Odisha, three each in and West Bengal, two in Jammu and and one seat each in and Puducherry. Elections will also be held in 35 assembly constituencies in Odisha.

Of the 95 constituencies, the AIADMK holds the maximum of 36 seats, followed by the BJP with 27 seats. The had won 12 of these seats in 2014, the and the BJD 4 each, the JD-S and the RJD two each and the AIUDF, the NCP, the JD-U, the PDP, the AINRC, the PMK, the CPI-M and the TMC one seat each.

Nearly 15.8 crore voters are eligible to vote in the second phase. Other prominent candidates in fray include leaders and Raj Babbar, National Conference and BJP's

In Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK, contesting as part of the NDA. The alliance comprises among others BJP, PMK, DMDK and Tamil Maanila of former union G K Vasan.

The DMK has formed a "Secular Progressive Alliance" comprising the Congress and Left parties, among others.

The electoral battle in the state is largely among the two fronts led by the Dravidian majors and the AMMK led by TTV Dhinakaran, an AIADMK rival, though parties such as the fledgling Makkal Needhi Maiam of are also testing their fortunes.

Lok Sabha elections in are the first ever after the demise of Dravidian stalwarts J Jayalalithaa of AIADMK and M Karunanidhi of the DMK.

In Odisha, Chief and BJD is contesting from his home turf Hinjili in district and Bijepur in Bargarh.

Among others, Oram of the BJP, BJD's Rajya Sabha MPs Prasanna Acharya and Achyut Samant, BJP are in the fray in the Lok Sabha polls.

Even though security was heightened, Maoists gunned down a in Kandhamal district of Odisha Wednesday when she was leading a team of poll personnel to a booth in Phulbani assembly segment.

It is a high-stakes battle for the ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance in as any adverse result is likely to have an impact on the longevity of the coalition government in the state.

The BJP is determined to improve its tally compared to last time riding on the Modi wave.

A total of 179 candidates are in the fray in in the 10 constituencies spread in parts of Vidarbha and Marathwada regions. Former chief ministers and of Congress are contesting from Nanded and Solapur seats respectively.

Cinestars and are among the 85 candidates from Uttar Pradesh, whose electoral fate will be decided on Thursday. The eight Lok Sabha seats, where polling is scheduled to be held, were won by the BJP in 2014.

In Jammu and Kashmir, authorities have deployed over 80 companies for election duty in the twin constituencies of and Thursday's polling in will be keenly watched within and outside as the constituency recorded an all-time low of 7.2 per cent voter turn out in the 2017 bye-election, marred by violence on polling day that left nine people dead and scores of others injured.

Fate of 68 candidates will be decided in by 86.01 lakh voters across Bhagalpur, Banka, Kishanganj, Katihar and Purnea Lok Sabha constituencies.

Five seats in will see polling Thursday and one seat in

The past few days have seen hectic campaigning by top leaders including Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Congress and a host of Union ministers.

There was lot of drama during electioneering as several leaders like Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Maneka Gandhi, Mayawati and made controversial remarks, prompting the to bar them from campaigning for varying periods over violations of the moral code of conduct.

In West Bengal, the EC has deployed 194 companies of central forces in the three constituencies going to polls to cover 80 per cent of the 5,390 booths for free and fair polling.

The fight for the lone Lok Sabha seat in Puducherry is expected to be mainly between the ruling Congress, which has put up former V Vaithilingam and the opposition AINRC's K Narayanasamy.

The Lok Sabha polls are being held in seven-phases for 543 seats on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19, and counting will be on May 23.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 17 2019. 19:25 IST