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Campaigning ends for 88 seats in Phase 2 of LS polls

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: April 24, 2024 23:57 IST
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The curtains came down Wednesday evening on a high-voltage campaigning for the second phase of Lok Sabha polls in 88 seats across 13 states on April 26.

IMAGE: BJP candidate for Mathura, Hema Malini holds a roadshow on the last day of the election campaign for the Lok Sabha election, in Mathura on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Staggered over seven stages, the first phase of the elections held last Friday for 102 seats across 21 states and Union territories saw a voter turnout of around 65.5 per cent.

Polling is scheduled in all 20 seats of Kerala, 14 of the 28 seats in Karnataka, 13 seats in Rajasthan, eight seats each in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, six seats in Madhya Pradesh, five seats each in Assam and Bihar, three seats each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, and one seat each in Manipur, Tripura and Jammu and Kashmir.


Among the prominent contestants are Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Thiruvananthapuram), Bharatiya Janata Party's Tejasvi Surya (Karnataka), Hema Malini and Arun Govil (both Uttar Pradesh), Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi (Wayanad) and Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram), Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar's brother D K Suresh (Congress), former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy (Janata Dal-Secular).

During the campaigning, Prime Minister Narendra kicked up a row on Sunday while addressing a rally in Rajasthan's Banswara.

Slamming the Congress manifesto, he alleged that the opposition party was planning to give people's hard-earned money and valuables to 'infiltrators' and 'those who have more children' and referred to former prime minister Manmohan Singh's speech in 2006 to contend he had said that Muslims have the 'first claim' on the country's resources.

The Congress was quick to react, saying that after facing 'disappointment' in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls, the prime minister was resorting to 'lies' and 'hate speech' to divert people from the real issues.

The party also urged the Election Commission to take action against Modi for his remarks, alleging they were 'divisive', 'malicious' and targeted a particular religious community.

The next day, Modi again accused the Congress of planning to redistribute people's property if it is voted to power, but stopped short of saying that the wealth would go to Muslims.

Addressing a rally in Aligarh, a western Uttar Pradesh constituency with a sizeable Muslim population, Modi further said he wanted to 'alert' people about the "intentions" of the Congress and the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).

As campaigning was drawing to a close, remarks by Congress leader Sam Pitroda on inheritance tax gave enough fodder to Modi and other BJP leaders to launch an all-out attack on the issue of 'wealth redistribution'.

In his poll rallies on Wednesday, Modi framed Pitroda's comments in his wider onslaught against the Congress, asserting that they have exposed its hidden agenda and that the party has become so removed from the country's social and family values that it wants to legally rob people of their assets and lifelong savings they want to bequeath to their children.

The Congress swung into damage control, distancing itself from the comments of the United States-based president of its overseas wing.

Over the past few weeks, various political parties held rallies and road shows across the states and also did door-to-door campaigning.

In Kerala, where the BJP has pulled out all stops in its bid to make inroads, diverse issues ranging from Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 'love jihad', controversies surrounding 'The Kerala Story' movie, Rahul Gandhi's candidature in Wayanad, and BJP's declaration that it would change the name of Sultan Bathery to Ganapathy Vattom dominated the high-decibel public campaigns.

During campaigning, ruling Left Democratic Front MLA P V Anwar sparked a row by referring to Rahul Gandhi as a 'fourth class citizen', someone who is not eligible to use the Gandhi suffix along with his name and should 'undergo a DNA test'.

He was reacting to Gandhi's remarks against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and asked how a person hailing from the Nehru family could make such statements.

Gandhi, during his election campaigns in the state, had sought to know why Vijayan was exempted from being interrogated and arrested by central agencies, though several allegations had cropped up against the Left veteran.

Vijayan, in response, recalled 'an old name of Rahul Gandhi' to attack the Congress leader. He was apparently referring to former chief minister V S Achuthanandan's calling Gandhi an "Amul baby" a decade ago.

After Friday's phase, polling will be over in Kerala, Rajasthan and Tripura.

In the first phase on April 19, polling was completed in all seats of Tamil Nadu (39), Uttarakhand (5), Arunachal Pradesh (2), Meghalaya (2), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Puducherry (1), Sikkim (1) and Lakshadweep (1).

In 2019, the National Democratic Alliance had won 56 of these 89 seats and the United Progressive Alliance 24. Six of these seats have been redrawn as part of the delimitation exercise.

Authorities in these constituencies have been directed to ensure that no outsider remains in these areas 48 hours before polling.

Any form of electioneering, public meetings, press conferences by political parties, interviews and panel discussions in electronic or print media have been strictly prohibited.

The third phase of polling for 95 seats in 12 states and Union Territories will be held on May 7.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024