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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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Russian President Vladimir Putin has achieved a historic milestone by clinching a fifth consecutive term, marking a landslide victory in the presidential polls. Putin hailed his re-election as a testament to the trust and confidence the nation has bestowed upon him.

With 80 percent of the precincts counted, Putin secured an overwhelming 87 percent of the vote, reaffirming his dominance in Russian politics. Election officials reported that rival candidates failed to garner more than 5 percent of the vote.

Nikolai Kharitonov, representing the Communist Party, emerged as the runner-up, while newcomer Vladislav Davankov claimed the third position. Putin’s victory not only underscores his enduring popularity but also solidifies his status as Russia’s longest-serving leader, surpassing even Josef Stalin.

Addressing supporters in Moscow, Putin emphasized his commitment to addressing the challenges associated with what he termed as Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. He pledged to prioritize resolving these issues and emphasized plans to bolster the Russian military.

Putin’s victory speech highlighted his agenda for the coming term, promising to strengthen national security and tackle pressing domestic and international concerns. As he embarks on his fifth term, Putin’s leadership continues to shape the trajectory of Russian politics and global affairs.

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The Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar announced on Saturday that voting for the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 will take place in seven phases in the southern region, starting from April 19. The results of the elections will be declared on June 4, ahead of the June 16 deadline for forming a new government. The voting schedule for the southern states will be as follows: April 19 (1st phase), April 26 (2nd phase), May 7 (3rd phase), May 13 (4th phase), May 20 (5th phase), May 25 (6th phase), and June 1 (7th phase), with the aim to elect 543 members for the Lower House.

Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, and Karnataka will cast their ballots in these seven phases, contributing to the electoral process that will determine the composition of the new government. According to Election Commission data, Karnataka will go to polls on April 26 and May 7, while Tamil Nadu will vote on April 19, Telangana on May 14, and Kerala on April 26.

The upcoming Lok Sabha Elections hold significant importance for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially in the southern states. While the BJP has secured victories in several northern states in the past, its influence in the southern belt needs enhancement. PM Modi has actively campaigned in South India, addressing public gatherings and launching developmental initiatives to garner support for his party.

However, politics in South India is primarily dominated by regional parties rather than national ones like the Congress, BJP, and CPI(M). These national parties have sought to form alliances with regional players to strengthen their presence in the region. In Tamil Nadu, for instance, the BJP has formed an alliance with the Tamil Maanila Congress, while the ruling DMK has partnered with the Congress and Makkal Needhi Maiam.

Similarly, alliances have been forged in other states like Telangana, Kerala, and Karnataka, where various parties are vying for electoral success. The political landscape in these states has witnessed dynamic shifts over the years, with parties like the BJP, Congress, and regional outfits competing for power.

A recent opinion poll conducted by News18 suggests that the NDA government is likely to make significant gains in the southern states, including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala. While the BJP is expected to perform well in Telangana, the DMK-Congress alliance is projected to secure victories in Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka, the NDA is anticipated to replicate its performance from 2019, securing a substantial number of seats.

Overall, the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 in the southern region are poised to be closely contested, with various political parties vying for electoral dominance and the opportunity to shape the future of the country.

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The high-decibel campaign for Telangana’s assembly elections concluded this evening, with polling scheduled for Thursday, the 30th of this month. Key leaders from major parties extensively canvassed across the state in the past month to garner support for their candidates.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP’s campaign, joined by senior party leaders, including Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Ministers Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Bhagwat Kharad, and Tamil Nadu BJP state president Annamalai were among those participating in the election campaign today.

The ruling BRS Chief Minister KCR spearheaded the campaign, with Working President K Taraka Ramarao and Senior Leader Harish Rao actively engaging in party promotion with a focus on development.

The Congress, presenting six guarantees, sought to attract voters during the campaign. Other parties, including the Majlis, BSP, Left parties, and independents, also conducted vigorous campaigns.

On the last day of campaigning in Telangana, roadshows, bike rallies, and corner meetings were held by senior leaders of major parties. The 48-hour silent period commenced across the state as it heads to the polls on Thursday. With 2,290 candidates contesting in 119 constituencies, election authorities are intensifying efforts to ensure smooth polling.

Chief Electoral Officer Vikasraj stated that the silent period prohibits non-locals from remaining in constituencies, and election propaganda is banned in movies and on social media. Private and IT companies are advised to declare a holiday on polling day, and the labor department has instructed all establishments to remain closed on that day. Liquor shops have been closed from today evening until 5 pm on Thursday in anticipation of the Assembly elections.

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As the curtain falls on the Rajasthan assembly election campaign this evening, key political figures are intensifying their efforts to sway voters. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a prominent BJP figure, is set to address a rally in Deogarh, Rajsamand district, while Home Minister Amit Shah will lead a roadshow in Nimbahera and Nathdwara, Chittorgarh. Other BJP leaders, including Yogi Adityanath, Vasundhara Raje, and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, will conduct public meetings and roadshows in support of party candidates.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Congress leader Sachin Pilot are actively engaging in election rallies across various areas in Jodhpur, Ajmer, Masuda, and Jhalawar. Congress stalwarts Randeep Surjewala, Mukul Wasnik, and CP Joshi are also rallying for the party’s candidates.

The electoral battleground in Rajasthan involves polling for 199 assembly seats scheduled for the 25th of this month.

In Telangana, a parallel political drama unfolds with high-voltage campaigning and confrontations. The 119-member state legislative assembly is slated for polls on the 30th of this month.

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the dates for five state Assembly elections on October 9, 2023. The elections will be held in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Mizoram.

Madhya Pradesh will elect legislators for 230 constituencies, Rajasthan for 200 constituencies, Telangana for 119 constituencies, Chhattisgarh for 90 constituencies and Mizoram for 40 constituencies.

The polling will be held in one phase in each of the five states on the following dates:

  • Madhya Pradesh: November 17, 2023
  • Rajasthan: November 23, 2023
  • Chhattisgarh: November 7, 2023  and November 17, 2023
  • Telangana: November 30, 2023
  • Mizoram: November 07, 2023

The counting of votes will be held on December 3, 2023.

The ECI has issued a number of guidelines for the conduct of the elections, including guidelines on the use of social media and the prevention of COVID-19. The ECI has also appealed to all political parties and candidates to follow the guidelines and to ensure that the elections are conducted in a free and fair manner.

These elections are important because they will provide a gauge of the public’s mood ahead of the 2024 general elections. The outcome of the elections will also have a significant impact on the political landscape of the country.

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