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LS polls: 88 seats across 13 states, UTs going to polls tomorrow for phase 2; 1202 candidates in fray

LS polls: 88 seats across 13 states, UTs going to polls tomorrow for phase 2; 1202 candidates in fray

| @indiablooms | 25 Apr 2024, 10:18 pm

The Election Commission of India is all geared up for the second phase of the Lok Sabha polls on Friday in a high-stakes battle across 13 states and union territories with the campaign marked by sharp jibes by the leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and it's main opposition the Congress as well as other opposition parties.

In the second phase, a total of 88 seats including all 20 seats in Kerala, 14 in Karnataka, 13 in Rajasthan, eight in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam and Bihar, six in Madhya Pradesh, three each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal and one each in Tripura, Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir will go to polls.

A total of 1202 candidates are in the fray in the high-octane battle Friday.

With weather conditions predicted to be within normal ranges, voters can cast their votes comfortably, the Election Commission said in a statement.

"For convenience for voters, meticulous arrangements have been made at all polling stations including facilities, to deal with hot weather conditions," the polls body said.

The Election Commission has called upon voters to turn in greater numbers at polling stations and vote with responsibility and pride as the casting of ballots begins at 7 AM Friday.

Interesting battles are lined up in this phase with some prominent personalities in the fray including Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad and Shashi Tharoor from Thiruvananthapuram.

Battles in Rajasthan in the second phase of polls include two union ministers, a former Assembly Speaker, and sons of two former chief ministers.

Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini is again in the fray from Mathura while former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is contesting from Rajnandgaon, DK Suresh from Bangalore Rural, and Tejasvi Surya from Bangalore South.

Over 16 lakh polling officials have been deployed to register the votes of over 15.88 crore people across 1.67 lakh polling stations

Voters include 8.08 crore males, 7.8 crore females, and 5929 third-gender electors of which
34.8 lakhs are first-time voters. Additionally, there are 3.28 crore young voters in the age group 20-29 years.

There are over 14.78 lakh registered voters, who are 85 years old, 42,226 above 100 years and 14.7 lakh PwDs for phase 2 who have been provided the option to vote from the comfort of their homes.

As a part of the arrangement, three helicopters, four special trains, and nearly 80,000 vehicles have been deployed to ferry polling and security personnel. Webcasting will be done in more than 50 percent of the polling stations along with the deployment of micro-observers in all polling stations. Webcasting is being done in over 1 lakh polling stations.

251 Observers (89 General Observers, 53 Police Observers, 109 Expenditure Observers) have already reached their Constituencies days before the polls. They serve as the eyes and ears of the Commission to exercise utmost vigilance. Additionally, Special Observers have been deployed in certain states.

A total of 4553 Flying Squads, 5731 Static Surveillance Teams, 1462 Video Surveillance Teams and 844 Video Viewing Teams are keeping surveillance round the clock to strictly and swiftly deal with any form of inducement of voters.

About 1237 inter-state and 263 international border checkposts have been asked to maintain a strict vigil on any illicit flow of liquor, drugs, cash, and freebies. Strict surveillance has been kept at sea and air routes.

Voter awareness and facilitation measures have been further geared up for higher turnout of voters.

Assured minimum facilities like water, shed, toilets, ramps, volunteers, wheelchairs, and electricity are in place to ensure that every voter, including the elderly and persons with disabilities, can cast their vote with ease. Special attention has been given to measures to deal with hot weather conditions, the EC statement said.

Around 4195 model polling stations are being set up across the 88 PCs with local themes. More than 4100 Polling stations will be completely managed by women including security staff and at over 640 Polling stations by Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

Polling stations across all states and UTs, in this phase except, Bihar and Kerala have less than 1000 average electors per polling station. Bihar has 1008 while Kerala has 1102 electors per polling station.

The first phase of voting for the seven-phased Lok Sabha election, the world's largest electoral exercise, was held on April 19 in 102 constituencies across 21 states and UTs.

According to the Election Commission, the voter turnout was over 62 percent. The third phase of the general elections will be held on May 7. The results for all seven phases will be declared on June 4.

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