Stage set for 2nd phase of LS poll covering 11 states, 1 union territory
New Delhi: Union ministers Jitendra Singh, Jual Oram, Sadananda Gowda and Pon Radhakrishnan, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and DMK's Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja and Kanimozhi are among the 1,600-odd contestants in the second phase of Lok Sabha polls to be held in 95 seats Thursday across 11 states and the union territory of Puducherry.
Thirty-eight of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu will go to polls besides 18 assembly constituencies. Polling in Vellore Lok Sabha seat, which is currently represented by the AIADMK, was cancelled Tuesday by the Election Commission following the recovery of a huge amount of cash.
The EC also announced postponement of polling in Tripura (East) Lok Sabha seat to the third phase on April 23, saying the prevailing law-and-order situation there is not conducive for holding free and fair polls. Besides Tamil Nadu, polling will also be held in 14 seats in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, three each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one seat each in Manipur and Puducherry. Elections will also be held in 35 assembly constituencies in Odisha.
Of the 95 constituencies, the AIADMK holds the maximum of 36 seats, followed by the BJP with 27 seats. The Congress had won 12 of these seats in 2014, the Shiv Sena and the BJD 4 each, the JD-S and the RJD two each and the AIUDF, the NCP, the JD-U, the PDP, the AINRC, the PMK, the CPI-M and the TMC one seat each.
Other prominent candidates in the fray include Congress leaders Verappa Moily and Raj Babbar, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and BJP's Hema Malini.
In Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK, contesting as part of the NDA. The alliance comprises among others BJP, PMK, DMDK and Tamil Maanila Congress of former union minister G K Vasan.
In Odisha, Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik is contesting from his home turf Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in Bargarh.