Earlier, 97 constituencies were scheduled to be covered in the second phase. But election to Vellore seat in Tamil Nadu was cancelled over allegations of excess use of money power and polling to Tripura (East) has been postponed to the third phase, over law and order concerns.
Polling will be held in 38 constituencies in Tamil Nadu, 14 in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, 3 each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one each in Manipur and Puducherry.
In Tamil Nadu, besides polling for the 38 Lok Sabha seats, by-elections will also be held in 18 Assembly constituencies. 822 candidates are in the fray for Parliamentary elections and 269 for Assembly by-elections. Nearly 6 crore electors are eligible to vote.
NDA consisting of AIADMK, BJP, PMK and DMDK is taking on UPA comprising DMK, Congress, the two Left Parties and Vaiko-led MDMK besides others.
In Maharashtra, a total of 179 candidates are in the fray. Prominent candidates are former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde of Congress. Mr Chavan is contesting from Nanded and Mr Shinde from Solapur. Voting will also take place in Buldhana, Akola, Amravati in Vidarbha and Hingoli, Parbhani, Beed, Osmanabad and Latur in Marathwada. Maharashtra Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dilip Shinde said ‘Sakhi’ polling booths have been set up to encourage more female voters to exercise their franchise.
In West Bengal, Jalpaiguri, Raigunj and Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituencies will go to polls in the second phase. 42 candidates are in the fray. More than 49 lakh electors are eligible to vote. Meanwhile, the Election Commission has appointed senior IAS officer Ajay V Nayak as a special observer for the state. The Commission has already appointed Vivek Dubey as a special police observer to ensure free and fair elections in the state.
In Bihar, Purnia, Kishanganj, Katihar, Bhagalpur and Banka will be covered in second phase. Meanwhile, RJD has expelled Ali Ashraf Fatmi from the party for six years because of his anti-party activities. He has already resigned from the primary membership of the party. Mr Fatmi announced that he will file nomination from Madhubani Parliamentary constituency as an independent against the grand alliance candidate.
In Uttar Pradesh, polling will be held in Amroha, Aligarh, Mathura, Fatehpur Sikri, Nagina, Bulandshahar, Hathras and Agra. The fate of 85 candidates will be decided in this phase. They include BJP’s Hema Malini from Mathura, Congress state chief Raj Babbar from Fatehpur Sikri and SP-BSP-RLD alliance candidate Kunwar Danish Ali from Amroha.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party has announced film star-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha’s wife Poonam Sinha as its candidate from Lucknow against senior BJP leader leader Rajnath Singh.
In Assam arrangement has been made for webcasting and video recording at some places. Special arrangements are made for Divyang, female and elderly voters so that they could exercise their franchise easily. The Election Commission of India has ordered re-polling at 19 polling stations in Arunachal Pradesh due to various reasons, including EVM malfunctioning.
Speaking to media persons, State Additional Chief Electoral Officer Kangki Darang informed that the ECI has ordered fresh polling on 20th of this month. Fresh polling will be held at 6 polling booths in Arunachal East Parliamentary seat and 13 in Arunachal West Parliamentary seat.
In Madhya Pradesh, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur will contest against senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh from high profile Bhopal Parliamentary constituency. She formally joined the BJP on Wednesday.