India began voting for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 with the first phase of polling for 92 seats being held in 18 states and two Union Territories on Thursday.
Being organised in seven phases over nearly six weeks, voting for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 will end on 19 May. Elections are also being held for four state assemblies. Counting for all the seats will take place on 23 May.
Eight states and two Union Territories saw voting in a single phase for the Lok Sabha. The states are: Telangana (17 seats), Andhra Pradesh (25 seats), Arunachal Pradesh (2 seats), Meghalaya (2 seats), Uttarakhand (5 seats), Sikkim (1 seat), Nagaland (1 Seat), and Mizoram (1 seat). The UTs of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands saw voting for 1 Lok Sabha seat each.
Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and parts of Odisha also voted for their state assembly.
Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Phase 1
There were reports of violence from some places in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Complaints of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) not working properly were also reported from several polling booths in different states.
Elections were held for 8 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. The seats in western UP are witnessing an intense battle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (SP-BSP-RLD) alliance.
RLD chief Ajit Singh is contesting against BJP candidate and former Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan in Muzaffarnagar. His son Jayant Chaudhary is the SP-BSP-RLD candidate against the BJP’s Satyapal Singh in Baghpat. Former Indian Army Chief and Union Minister VK Singh is seeking re-election as the BJP candidate from Ghaziabad.
The Congress, which is not part of the alliance, has put up its own candidates in these seats, turning it into a triangular contest.
Seven of the 48 seats in Maharashtra went to polls in the first phase. This included Nagpur, where senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is locked in a battle with former party MP Nana Patole who is contesting on a Congress ticket.
State Assembly Elections
In Andhra Pradesh, outgoing Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader N Chandrababu Naidu is making a bid to retain power. But he is facing a strong challenge from the YSR Congress Party and its leader Jagan Mohan Reddy is confident of coming to power in the state.
In Odisha, elections were held for four of the 21 Lok Sabha seats and 28 of the 147 Assembly seats. Biju Janata Party (BJD) leader Naveen Patnaik is aiming for an unprecedented fifth consecutive term as Chief Minister.
But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), buoyed by the entry of popular BJD MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda and several other leaders and lawmakers from the ruling party, is hoping to spring a surprise this time.
Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Biggest So Far
The ongoing Lok Sabha elections have been described as the biggest and most expensive in India’s history.
Approximately 900 million people are be eligible to vote as per the electoral rolls as on 1 January 2019. This is an increase of over 84 million since 2014, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has said.
Over 15 million electors are in 18-19 years age group. Electors in the age group of 18 to 19 years constitute 1.66% of total electors.
The elections are being held with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) in all voting machines. Following a Supreme Court order, the VVPATs will have to be tallied with the votes in five EVMs in each constituency.