Polling begins for 93 LS seats amid festive atmosphere

New Delhi, May 7 (UNI) Amid great enthusiasm, polling began in 93 constituencies spread over 11 states and two Union Territories at 7 am on Tuesday in phase three of the ongoing Lok Sabha election in the country.

Since morning, long queues have been seen outside many booths, with voters, particularly women, turning out in colourful costumes, that varied from region to region, showcasing the great diversity that marks India.

The voting will continue till 5 pm, and upto 6 pm in some constituencies.

Over 17.24 crore voters — 8.85 crore male and 8.39 crore female — are eligible to choose their representatives to the Lower House of Parliament from a pool of more than 1,300 candidates, including approximately 120 women, in around 1.85 lakh polling stations in this phase, according to the Election Commission of India.

On Tuesday, elections are being held for 25 seats in Gujarat, 14 seats in Karnataka, eight seats in Madhya Pradesh, 11 seats in Maharashtra, 10 seats in Uttar Pradesh, four each in West Bengal and Assam, five seats in Bihar, seven in Chhattisgarh, two seats each in Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu, besides one seat in Jammu and Kashmir.

The prominent candidates who are contesting in the third phase include BJP leaders: Home Minister Amit Shah (Gandhi Nagar), Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya (Porbandar) and Union Minister Parshottam Singh Rupala (Rajkot). Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s wife and sitting MP Dimple Yadav (Mainpuri) and BJP veteran former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Vidisha).

Jyotiraditya Scindia is contesting his first Lok Sabha election as a BJP contestant (Guna), while Congress veteran, and another former MP CM Digvijaya Singh (Rajgarh) is claiming to fight his last election.

In Karnataka, former CM Basavaraj Bommai is contesting from Haveri and Union Minister Prahlad Joshi is from Dharwad.

Maharashtra’s Baramati seat is set for a battle royale in the Pawar clan, as Ajit Pawar-led NCP has fielded the deputy CM’s wife, Sunetra Pawar whereas his uncle Sharad Pawar-led NCP (Sharad Chandra Pawar) fielded three-time MP Supriya Sule, Pawar senior’s daughter.

Voting for the Anantnag-Rajouri seat in Jammu & Kashmir has been postponed to the sixth phase following logistical issues, while in Gujarat’s Surat, Mukesh Dalal of the BJP has already secured victory uncontested after issues over the nomination of Congress’ Nilesh Kumbhani.

Seventy-two constituencies belong to the general category, while 11 are reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates, and 10 for Scheduled Caste nominees.

Around 18.5 lakh polling officials, 264 observers, 4303 flying squads, 5534 static surveillance teams, 1987 video surveillance teams, and 949 video viewing teams have been deployed to serve as the eyes and ears of the Commission and maintain surveillance.

A total of 1,041 inter-state and 275 international Border check posts are keeping strict vigil on any illicit flow of liquor, drugs, cash and freebies. Strict surveillance has been kept on sea and air routes.

The first phase of polling on April 19 for 102 seats saw over 66 percent turnout, while 66.71 percent of votes were cast on April 26 in phase two polls, stretching over 88 constituencies.

Polling will be held in four more phases on May 13, May 20, May 25, and June 1.

The votes for all Lok Sabha constituencies will be counted on June 4.

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