96 Lok Sabha, 203 Assembly Seats Voting Today In Phase 4 Polls

Results of the 2024 Lok Sabha election will be out on June 1 (File).

New Delhi:

The fourth phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha election kicked off today with voting for 96 seats across 10 states and union territories, as well as voting for all 175 seats of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and 28 of 147 in neighbouring Odisha. 

The Lok Sabha seats in play today are all 25 in Andhra Pradesh and 17 in Telangana, in addition to 13 in Uttar Pradesh, 11 in Maharashtra, eight each in Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, five in Bihar, four in Odisha and Jharkhand, and Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar.

On completion of the day’s voting the Lok Sabha election 2024 will have crossed the halfway stage, with polling settled for 381 of the Lower House’s 543 seats.

The big names on the ballots in this phase include Samajwadi Party boss Akhilesh Yadav, who contests from the family bastion of Kannauj and Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra, who will attempt to defend her Krishnanagar seat and stage a triumphant return to Parliament after being controversially expelled last year in the cash-for-questions row.

Also contesting in this phase are National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, who stands from Srinagar – the seat won by his father, Farooq Abdullah, in 1980, 2009, 2017 and 2019, and himself in 1998, 1999, and 2004 – as the Congress-led INDIA opposition bloc’s candidate.

The Congress’ Bengal chief, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, is contesting from Bahrampur, which was one of just two the party won in 2019; the other was Dakshin Maldaha. Mr Chowdhury must deal with ex-India cricketer Yusuf Pathan, who joined the Trinamool in March. Elsewhere in Bengal, the BJP’s ex-state boss, Dilip Ghosh, will contest from Bardhaman-Durgapur against another ex-India cricketer fielded by the Trinamool – Kirti Azad.

The battle in Bengal – spread out over all seven phases of this election – has been keenly followed as it is one of two states, the other being Kerala, in which INDIA bloc members, unable to agree a seat-share deal, are fighting against each other in ‘friendly’ contests.

Further south, in Telangana, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has been locked in a high-profile clash with the BJP’s Madhavi Latha for the Hyderabad seat that has been in the family since 1984, when his father, Salahuddin Owaisi, won it as an independent candidate.

In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Jagan Reddy’s sister, YS Sharmila, leads the Congress’ charge from Kadapa, which was won by her brother in 2009 as a member of the Congress. Ms Sharmila faces a family fight – against her cousin and sitting MP YS Avinash Reddy.

Other big faces contesting today are the BJP’s Giriraj Singh, who faces Awadesh Kumar Rai from Begusarai, and his party colleague Ajay Mishra Teni, who has been fielded from UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri, which made headlines during the farmers’ protest of 2021. 

Mr Teni’s son Ashish is serving a jail term in connection with the killing of four farmers and a local journalist. He is on bail in the case at present. 

In the 2019 election, the BJP won only 42 of the 96 seats polling today. The party struggled in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, winning four in the former and zero in the latter. 

The build-up to this phase has seen the Election Commission in the headlines for various issues, including notices to the Congress and BJP bosses, Mallikarjun Kharge and JP Nadda, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks about Muslims and wealth redistribution.

The poll panel sent a separate notice to Mr Kharge after his letter – to INDIA bloc allies – complaining that the Election Commission’s credibility had reached an all-time low.

Controversial comments by Congress leader Sam Pitroda – first about inheritance taxes and then about racial diversity in India – have also made headlines. And finally, perhaps the biggest news, was the release of Delhi Chief Minister and AAP boss Arvind Kejriwal on bail.

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