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Lok Sabha Elections

The fourth phase of the highly anticipated Lok Sabha elections, held on May 13, 2024, saw an encouraging voter turnout of 64.60% across 96 constituencies spread over 10 states and union territories. However, the day was not without its share of challenges, with incidents of violence and Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) malfunctioning reported from some states.

Among the highlights of the voting day was the highest voter turnout of 76.89% recorded in West Bengal, despite clashes between workers of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in certain areas. The state witnessed several high-profile contests, including those in Krishnagar, Baharampur, and Asansol.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary constituency of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, experiencing its first elections since the abrogation of Article 370, recorded the lowest turnout at 38%. This historic election marked a significant moment for the region, reflecting a changing political landscape.

In Maharashtra, the voting percentage stood at 59.33%, while Andhra Pradesh and Telangana witnessed turnouts of 68.87% and 62.64% respectively. However, instances of electoral misconduct surfaced in some constituencies, such as a case registered against a BJP candidate in Telangana’s Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat for allegedly asking burqa-clad women voters to reveal their faces.

Other states like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, and Jharkhand saw turnout percentages of 65.77%, 57.06%, and 64.59% respectively. Concurrently, assembly polls were held for 175 and 28 out of 147 seats in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, adding another layer of significance to the electoral process.

Uttar Pradesh, with its significant stake in parliamentary representation, witnessed a turnout of 58.05%. However, allegations of electoral malpractice emerged in some areas, with Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav accusing the BJP of rigging the polls in Kannauj. Despite these challenges, citizens across the country continued to exercise their democratic rights, reaffirming the strength of India’s electoral process.

The Lok Sabha elections, spanning seven phases, are set to conclude on June 1, with the counting of votes scheduled for June 4. As the nation progresses through this crucial democratic exercise, each phase brings with it its own set of triumphs and tribulations, shaping the future trajectory of Indian politics.

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As the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 progress, the nation gears up for the third phase of polling scheduled for Tuesday, May 7. Across 11 states and union territories, 93 Lok Sabha constituencies are poised for electoral action, with a total of 1,351 candidates vying for victory, as announced by the Elections Commission of India.

While the original count was slated at 94 constituencies across 12 states and Union Territories, the BJP has already secured the Surat seat in Gujarat uncontested. Additionally, the voting for the Anantnag-Rajouri seat in Jammu and Kashmir has been postponed to May 25. Conversely, Betul in Madhya Pradesh, initially planned for the second phase on April 26, will now witness polling during the third phase on May 7.

Among the highlights of the third phase are the full spectrum of Gujarat’s 25 Lok Sabha seats, alongside crucial constituencies in other states:

  • Assam: Voting in 4 out of 14 seats, including Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Barpeta, and Guwahati.
  • Bihar: 5 seats out of 40, encompassing Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Araria, Madhepura, and Khagaria.
  • Chhattisgarh: 7 out of 11 seats, spanning Surguja, Janjgir-Champa, Korba, Bilaspur, Durg, Raipur, and Raigarh.
  • Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu: All 2 seats.
  • Goa: Both seats, including North Goa and South Goa.
  • Karnataka: 14 out of 28 seats, covering constituencies such as Chikkodi, Belgaum, Bagalkot, and Shimoga.
  • Madhya Pradesh: 9 out of 29 seats, including Morena, Gwalior, Bhopal, and Betul.
  • Maharashtra: 11 out of 48 seats, featuring Solapur, Raigad, Baramati, Latur, Satara, and Kolhapur.
  • Uttar Pradesh: 10 out of 80 seats, encompassing regions like Agra, Firozabad, Mainpuri, and Bareilly.
  • West Bengal: 4 out of 42 seats, including Maldaha Uttar, Maldaha Dakshin, Jangipur, and Murshidabad.

With each phase marking a significant step towards the culmination of the electoral process, voters are urged to exercise their democratic right responsibly. The Lok Sabha Elections 2024, spanning seven phases, are set to declare results on June 4, shaping the future trajectory of the nation’s governance.

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In a display of civic duty and democratic fervor, former cricket captain Rahul Dravid emerged as an early voter in Bengaluru during the ongoing India general elections. Setting a commendable example, Dravid was spotted queuing up alongside fellow citizens at a polling booth in Dollars Colony to cast his ballot.

Expressing his satisfaction with the electoral process, Dravid emphasized the importance of active participation in shaping the nation’s future. “Voting went smoothly, and the process was very easy. It is important to take our democracy forward, and I request everyone to step out and vote,” remarked Dravid, underscoring the significance of citizen engagement in the electoral process.

Anticipating a surge in voter turnout, particularly among the youth, Dravid highlighted the pivotal role of first-time voters in bolstering democratic representation. “I am expecting a larger voter turnout this time in Bengaluru. There are so many first-time voters as well, and everyone must use their franchise. If young boys and girls show up and cast their vote, it would be great,” he asserted, echoing a sentiment of empowerment through civic participation.

Joining Dravid in exercising their franchise were other prominent personalities, including former Indian cricket stalwart Anil Kumble and Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy. Kumble, accompanied by his wife Chethana Ramatheertha, cast their votes early in the morning, while Narayana Murthy and his wife Sudha Murthy urged Bengaluru voters to actively participate in the electoral process to enhance the city’s polling percentage.

Addressing the media, Sudha Murthy emphasized the significance of urban voter turnout and encouraged youngsters to seize the opportunity to choose their leaders. “I want to tell everyone – don’t sit at home, come out and vote, choose your leader,” she urged, highlighting the pivotal role of urban voters in shaping electoral outcomes.

The ongoing Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka witness 14 seats up for grabs in the second phase, with the remaining 14 slated for polling on May 7. Notable constituencies include Bangalore Rural, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Bangalore South, Mandya, and Mysore. The outcome of these elections will determine the political destiny of key figures such as BJP leader Tejasvi Surya, former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, and Congress stalwart DK Suresh.

As the electoral process unfolds, Bengaluru stands poised to make its mark on India’s democratic landscape, with citizens like Rahul Dravid leading the charge for active civic participation.

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In a bold prediction that reverberates across India’s political landscape, esteemed economist and political analyst Surjit Bhalla foresees a resounding victory for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha election. Bhalla, renowned for his insightful analysis, anticipates that the BJP could clinch an impressive tally of 330 to 350 seats, surpassing its remarkable performance in the 2019 polls.

In an exclusive interview with NDTV, Bhalla, whose latest book ‘How We Vote’ delves into the intricacies of voter behavior, outlined his projections for the current general elections. He emphasized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s enduring popularity and asserted that the BJP’s potential triumph would be a testament to its widespread appeal among the electorate.

“Basing my analysis on statistical probability, I anticipate the BJP securing 330 to 350 seats independently, excluding its alliance partners,” remarked Bhalla during the interview. He further underscored that the BJP is poised to witness a notable surge in seat acquisition, with a projected increase of five to seven percent compared to its 2019 electoral performance.

While acknowledging the possibility of a “wave election,” Bhalla cautioned against presumptions and highlighted the dynamic nature of electoral outcomes.

Opposition’s Prospects and BJP’s Southern Ascent

In contrast to the BJP’s anticipated electoral triumph, Bhalla offered a sobering assessment of the opposition’s prospects. He suggested that the Congress, the primary opposition party, may secure approximately 44 seats, reflecting a marginal decline from its performance in the 2014 elections. Bhalla attributed this prognosis to perceived leadership deficits within the opposition ranks and emphasized the pivotal role of economic factors in shaping voter preferences.

Remarkably, Bhalla also forecasted significant gains for the BJP in traditionally challenging regions like Tamil Nadu and Kerala. He suggested that the BJP could secure five or more seats in Tamil Nadu, signaling a potential breakthrough in a state where the party has historically faced hurdles.

Prime Minister Modi’s Optimism and Vision

Bhalla’s insights coincide with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s optimistic outlook on the BJP’s electoral prospects, particularly in southern states. Modi expressed confidence in the BJP’s expanding footprint in regions like Telangana and underscored the party’s commitment to bolstering its presence across diverse constituencies.

As the Lok Sabha election unfolds, the clash of political ideologies and visions intensifies, with the BJP aiming to consolidate its mandate and the opposition striving to reclaim lost ground. Against this backdrop, Bhalla’s projections offer valuable insights into the evolving dynamics of Indian politics and the trajectory of the ongoing electoral contest.

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India witnessed a significant voter turnout of around 60.03% as millions of citizens cast their votes in the first phase of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024. The election, spanning 102 seats across 21 states and Union Territories, kicked off amid reports of sporadic violence in Manipur and West Bengal.

Sporadic Violence Mars Polling Process

In the state of Bengal, clashes erupted between workers of the Trinamool Congress and the BJP in Cooch Behar. Additionally, reports of gunfire surfaced from a polling station in Manipur, while a polling station was vandalized in Imphal. These incidents raised concerns about the smooth conduct of the electoral process.

Efforts to Ensure Smooth Conduct

The Election Commission, responsible for overseeing the seven-phase election spread over 43 days, assured citizens of its commitment to ensuring a transparent and inclusive electoral process. Despite the sporadic incidents of violence, the Commission remains determined to facilitate a smooth voting experience in the subsequent phases.

High Turnout in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh

Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, which also held assembly elections alongside the Lok Sabha polls, reported turnout percentages of 68% and 68.3%, respectively. However, these figures marked a decline compared to the 2019 elections, signaling a potential shift in voter sentiment.

Variation in Voter Turnout Across States

Tamil Nadu, conducting a single-day election, witnessed a turnout of 62.3%, down from 72.4% in the previous election. Similarly, Rajasthan reported a turnout of 50.9%, lower than the 64% recorded previously. In contrast, Uttar Pradesh recorded 57.6% voting, while Madhya Pradesh saw 63.3% turnout.

Political Dynamics and Projections

In Bengal, where the BJP aims to narrow the gap with the Trinamool Congress, a high voter turnout of 77.57% was reported. The BJP-dominated northeastern states also saw substantial turnout, with Assam recording 71.3%, Meghalaya 70.2%, Manipur 68.6%, Arunachal Pradesh 65.4%, and Tripura an impressive 79.9%.

Expectations and Projections

The BJP, confident in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity, aims for a strong performance, especially in the southern states and Bengal. Conversely, the Congress projects optimism about its performance in northern states, including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, emphasizing its potential for a comeback.

Counting of Votes and Future Outlook

The counting of votes is scheduled for June 4, where the fate of political parties and candidates will be revealed. With the elections set to unfold over multiple phases, the political landscape of India is poised for significant shifts, reflecting the diverse aspirations of its electorate.

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Prominent Participation: Chief Ministers and MPs Cast Ballots Early
In the inaugural phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, prominent political figures, including Chief Ministers and sitting Members of Parliament, demonstrated active participation by casting their ballots early.

Notable Figures: CM Conrad K. Sangma, Sitting Tura MP Agatha K. Sangma, and Others Lead the Way
Among the early voters were figures such as Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, Sitting Tura MP Agatha K. Sangma, and Congress candidate Gaurav Gogoi, symbolizing the importance of voter engagement in shaping the democratic process.

Key Contests: Union Ministers and Political Heavyweights in the Fray
The electoral battleground witnessed the participation of several key faces, including eight Union Ministers like Nitin Gadkari, Kiren Rijiju, and Sarbanada Sonowal, highlighting the significance of the first phase in shaping national politics.

Regional Dynamics: Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Play Crucial Role
Tamil Nadu and Puducherry collectively contributed the largest number of seats in the first phase, with the Dravidian giants DMK and AIADMK remaining formidable contenders amidst BJP’s aspirations in the state.

Simultaneous Polls: Assembly Elections in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim
The parliamentary polls unfolded alongside Assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, adding another layer of electoral dynamism to the proceedings and shaping regional politics.

Caste Dynamics: Caste Politics Come to Fore in Western Uttar Pradesh and Muzaffarnagar
In regions like western Uttar Pradesh and Muzaffarnagar, caste dynamics took center stage as communities mobilized around identity and representation, shaping the electoral discourse.

High Turnout: Brisk Polling in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur-Doda Seat
Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat witnessed brisk polling, with voters turning out early to participate in the democratic process amidst a complex socio-political landscape.

Leadership Example: RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and CM Conrad Sangma Lead by Example
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma were among the notable personalities who cast their votes early, emphasizing the importance of civic duty and responsible participation in the electoral process.

Overall Impact: Phase One Marks Beginning of Crucial Chapter in India’s Democratic Journey
The commencement of phase one of the Lok Sabha Elections marked the initiation of a significant chapter in India’s democratic journey, laying the groundwork for further political developments and electoral engagements in the days to come.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched its election manifesto, Sankalp Patra, for the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls, highlighting key initiatives focusing on the empowerment of women, youth, farmers, and the underprivileged. Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the manifesto pledges to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) among other significant reforms.

PM Modi’s Vision for Viksit Bharat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed gratitude to the manifesto committee for their meticulous efforts in crafting the comprehensive Sankalp Patra. Emphasizing the BJP’s track record of fulfilling manifesto promises, PM Modi highlighted the document’s focus on empowering youth, women, the impoverished, and farmers. He underscored the party’s commitment to enhancing quality of life, job creation, and investment-driven growth.

PM Modi assured the continuation of the free ration scheme for the next five years, prioritizing nutritious and affordable food for the underprivileged. Furthermore, he announced initiatives such as the expansion of the Mudra Yojana loan ceiling and the PM Swanidhi Yojana, catering to small businesses in tier two and tier three cities.

Empowering Women and the Marginalized

In alignment with the BJP’s agenda, PM Modi pledged to strengthen women’s participation in the workforce and self-help groups (SHGs). The manifesto outlines plans to train women from SHGs in various sectors and aims to create three crore “Lakhpati Didis.” Additionally, provisions for the elderly, disabled, and transgender community were highlighted, including priority access to healthcare and housing schemes.

Key Focus Areas in BJP’s Manifesto

The Sankalp Patra encompasses a broad spectrum of initiatives, including the implementation of the UCC, streamlining electoral processes with One Nation One Poll, and bolstering India’s economy to become the world’s third-largest. Other notable commitments include infrastructure development, healthcare reforms, and advancing India’s position in the global arena, such as securing a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.

JP Nadda’s Remarks

BJP President JP Nadda reiterated the party’s commitment to its ideological foundation, emphasizing continuity in delivering on promises made to the electorate. He lauded PM Modi’s inclusive vision encapsulated in “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas,” underscoring the party’s unwavering dedication to fulfilling its guarantees.

The launch of the Sankalp Patra sets the stage for BJP’s electoral campaign, showcasing a comprehensive roadmap for the nation’s development and prosperity under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced significant relaxations in the voting procedure for Kashmiri migrants who relocated to Jammu and Udhampur in the 1990s, ensuring their seamless participation in the upcoming 2024 general elections. Chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar, a meeting was convened with Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu to address the concerns of displaced voters and streamline the voting process.

Previously, displaced Kashmiri Pandits were mandated to fill out Form M to transfer their voting registration from Kashmir to polling stations in Jammu, Udhampur, or Delhi. However, the ECI has now waived the requirement of Form M for individuals from Baramulla, Srinagar, and Anantnag-Rajouri.

Moreover, the commission has approved the acceptance of self-attested certificates along with Form M from migrants residing outside Jammu and Udhampur, eliminating the need for attestation by a gazetted officer. This decision comes in response to numerous representations received by the ECI highlighting the bureaucratic hurdles faced by Kashmiri migrants during the voting process.

Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu & Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, lent support to a recommendation by political parties advocating for voting options at transitory camps and through postal ballots for Kashmiri migrants. Consequently, the ECI has designated 22 special polling stations across Jammu and Udhampur, ensuring accessibility for all displaced voters.

These special polling stations will derive electoral roll extracts from the respective assembly constituencies, with measures in place to prevent duplication between postal ballot voters and those voting in person. Migrants residing outside Jammu and Udhampur will have the option to self-attest Form M for voting at special polling stations, presenting their Electors Photo Identification Card or alternative identification.

The ECI’s initiative aims to streamline the voting process for displaced Kashmiris, offering both in-person and postal ballot options. Forms necessary for voting are available on the ECI website, facilitating greater accessibility and participation in the democratic process.

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In a display of political solidarity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath spearheaded a vibrant roadshow in Ghaziabad on Saturday, endorsing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate Atul Garg for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The roadshow, marking PM Modi’s first campaign appearance in Uttar Pradesh, showcased a robust turnout of enthusiastic supporters, chanting slogans and waving party flags.

Accompanied by Union Minister V K Singh and the BJP candidate Atul Garg, PM Modi and CM Yogi Adityanath embarked on a spirited journey through the streets of Ghaziabad. Amidst a sea of fervent supporters, the leaders rode in an open vehicle bedecked with flowers, symbolizing the BJP’s iconic lotus emblem. The crowd, echoing slogans of “Abki baar 400 paar” (Crossing 400 seats this time), “Har Har Modi”, and “Jai Shri Ram”, exuded unwavering enthusiasm and support for the ruling party.

The roadshow, spanning approximately one-and-a-half kilometers from Maliwad Chowk to Chaudhary Mod, witnessed an overwhelming response from the public. PM Modi expressed gratitude for the warm reception, acknowledging the affectionate welcome extended by the people of Ghaziabad. The event, meticulously organized by the district administration, saw extensive security measures with the deployment of over 5,000 police personnel and traffic diversions.

Dressed in vibrant attire, including yellow saris and saffron pagdis, women danced exuberantly, adding to the festive ambiance of the occasion. PM Modi, in a post-event statement, lauded the significant participation of the youth and women, underscoring their crucial role in shaping the nation’s progress. He reiterated the BJP’s commitment to further enhancing the quality of life in Ghaziabad through comprehensive developmental initiatives.

As the roadshow progressed, excited onlookers thronged the streets, showering flowers and raising slogans in support of the BJP. The event culminated in a vibrant display of political fervor, setting the stage for the upcoming elections in Ghaziabad scheduled for April 26. Notably, the BJP has nominated former Uttar Pradesh minister Atul Garg as its candidate, replacing incumbent Union Minister V K Singh.

In addition to the roadshow, PM Modi addressed a rally in Saharanpur earlier in the day, extending support to BJP candidates across the state. The campaign fervor in Ghaziabad was further heightened as BJP workers distributed sweets among the populace, amplifying the anticipation and excitement surrounding the forthcoming elections.

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The commencement of the nomination process marks the beginning of the first phase of General Elections, as declared by the Election Commission of India. Today, a Gazette notification has been issued, outlining the participation of 102 Parliamentary Constituencies across 21 States/UTs in the upcoming polls for the Lok Sabha 2024. Scheduled for April 19, 2024, the polling in these constituencies will mark a significant juncture in the democratic process.

The states and union territories included in Phase 1 are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.

The last date for filing nominations in Phase 1 for all states and union territories except Bihar is March 27, 2024. For Bihar, it is extended until March 28, 2024. Today, as nominations begin to pour in, the electoral landscape starts to take shape, setting the stage for a crucial electoral process that will shape the nation’s future.

The schedule for Phase 1 is as given below

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