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Rahul, Hema in fray as 88 seats go to polls in Phase 2

Last updated on: April 25, 2024 20:13 IST

Voting for the second phase of Lok Sabha polls will be held on Friday for 88 seats in 13 states with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi seeking a second-straight term from Wayanad in Kerala.

IMAGE: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi greets the gathering during a public meeting for the Lok Sabha elections, in Kannur . Photograph: ANI Photo

All 20 seats of Kerala will go to polls besides 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.

Though voting was to be held for 89 seats in the second phase, polling for the Betul seat in Madhya Pradesh has been rescheduled to the third phase due to the death of a candidate from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).


The Election Commission (EC) said more than 16 lakh polling officials have been deployed across 1.67 lakh polling stations for over 15.88 crore voters.

Voters include 8.08 crore male, 7.8 crore female and 5,929 third gender electors.

As many as 34.8 lakh first-time voters are registered to cast their votes.

Additionally, there are 3.28 crore young voters in the age group of 20-29 years, the poll authority said.

Keeping in mind the heatwave, the EC has extended polling time in several polling stations of four constituencies in Bihar.

The India Meteorological Department has also warned of heatwave to severe heatwave conditions in parts of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh during the next five days.

The Met office said high humidity could add to people's inconvenience in Tripura, Kerala, coastal Karnataka and Assam.

Of the 1,202 candidates in the fray, 1,098 are men, 102 are women and two are from the third gender category.

At least three helicopters, four special trains and nearly 80,000 vehicles have been deployed to ferry poll and security personnel.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar and actor-turned-politician Arun Govil, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar's brother D K Suresh (Congress), and former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy (Janata Dal-Secular) are among the key candidates while Bharatiya Janata Party's Hema Malini, Om Birla and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat seeking a hat-trick of wins from their respective constituencies.

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

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 UPA 24. Six of these seats have been redrawn as part of the delimitation exercise.

In Kerala, 2,77,49,159 people are eligible to cast their votes and out of them more than five lakh are first-time voters.

Gandhi is the sitting MP from Wayanad and is pitted against Communist Party of India's Annie Raja and BJP's K Surendran.

On the eve of polling, Gandhi in a video appeal urged people to support his party and asserted this is an election to save democracy and the Constitution which he alleged the BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are trying to 'destroy'.

Tharoor is aiming to win the Thiruvananthapuram seat for the fourth time.

He is pitted against Chandrasekhar from the BJP and CPI's Pannyan Raveendran.

Malini, who has represented the Mathura constituency since 2014, is contesting against Congress's Mukesh Dhangar while Om Birla, a two-time MP from Kota, is facing Prahlad Gunjal of the Congress.

Union minister Shekhawat is eyeing a third win from the Jodhpur seat and is pitted against Congress candidate Karan Singh Uchiyarda.

Tejasvi Surya, the sitting MP for Bangalore South and the national president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), will face Congress's Sowmya Reddy.

Former chief minister of Chhattisgarh and Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel is contesting from Rajnandgaon, a stronghold of the BJP for over 30 years.

Govil, famous for portraying Lord Ram's character in Ramayan TV series, is making his electoral debut against BSP's Devvrat Kumar Tyagi and SP's Sunita Verma.

The contest for the Alappuzha seat in Kerala has turned into a prestige battle for the Congress with All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K C Venugopal's return to the Lok Sabha poll fray after 2014 as the party looks to wrest the only seat it lost to the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in its landslide 19-1 victory in Kerala in the 2019 polls.

Venugopal has not lost any major election in his career. He won the Alappuzha Assembly seat thrice in a row in 1996, 2001, and 2006 and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Alappuzha in 2009 and 2014.

In 2019, he did not contest after the party elevated him to the post of the AICC general secretary.

The third phase of elections for 94 seats across 12 states and Union territories will be held on May 7.

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