First Phase Of Lok Sabha Elections Of The Country On 91 Seats Starts In 18 States

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New Delhi: The first day of a nearly six-week-long process that constitutes the world’s largest democratic exercise has started on Thursday. This staggered general elections will kick off with 91 Lok Sabha seats spread across 18 states and two union territories going to the polls.

A total of 142 million people will vote in 170,664 poll booths to decide the fates of 1,279 candidates. In addition to Lok Sabha elections, the states of Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim will vote for new assemblies on Thursday, as will parts of the coastal state of Odisha. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.

“Tomorrow is first of the seven-phase elections for the 17th Lok Sabha. We appeal to the people of India to vote fearlessly so that foundations of our democracy get stronger,” Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said.

The biggest chunk of seats are up for grabs in Andhra Pradesh, which was carved out of a larger coastal province in 2014. Polling for all 25 Lok Sabha and 175 assembly seats will be held simultaneously. There are 2,118 candidates for the state polls and 319 for the Lok Sabha elections, whose fate will be decided by roughly 39 million voters.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu will be seeking election from Kuppam, while his son Nara Lokesh is making his electoral debut from Mangalagiri. The principal challenger, YSR Congress chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, is fighting from his family’s pocket borough of Pulivendula.

The neighbouring state of Telangana will also see all 17 Lok Sabha seats going to the polls. Having nearly swept the assembly elections in December, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi is hoping for a strong showing in a state where the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are the opposition parties. There are 443 candidates in the fray. The Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency is a special case as 185 candidates are fighting the polls, forcing the Election Commission to issue jumbo Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).

 

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