#LokSabhaElections: First phase voting begins, all eyes on 91 constituencies
The first phase of highly-anticipated general elections began on Thursday. In the first phase, citizens of 91 Lok Sabha seats will cast their votes. The constituencies include two union territories as well. Apart from parliamentary elections, assembly polls are also being held today in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim. The elections will be held in seven phases. Here's all about it.
Several high-profile candidates are testing their fortune in the first phase. These included Union Minister Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur), VK Singh (Ghaziabad), and Kiren Rijiju (Arunachal West). Gadkari is pitted against BJP rebel-turned-Congress candidate Nana Patole, who has slight potential of denting his chances. Before the polls began, Rijiju asked everyone to exercise their voting rights and voice their opinion.
West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar will cast votes in all seven phases. In the politically crucially state UP, elections are being held in eight out of 80 Lok Sabha seats. The seats include Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad of NCR. Four out of 40 Lok Sabha seats of Bihar and two out of 42 Lok Sabha seats of West Bengal will vote today.
Separately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to urge voters to exercise their rights. "I call upon all those whose constituencies are voting in the first phase today to turn out in record numbers and exercise their franchise. I specially urge young and first-time voters to vote in large numbers, (sic)" he tweeted. BJP President Amit Shah also echoed his emotions.
Meanwhile, in some constituencies, voters faced trouble due to faulty EVMs. A snag in the voting machine was reported from Noida Sector 21. Polling didn't begin in one of the booths in UP's Muzaffarnagar due to EVM issues. According to reports, voters have been waiting for more than an hour now. A technical glitch in a booth in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, was also reported.