NEWS
23/04/2019 6:43 AM IST | Updated 29/04/2019 5:03 PM IST

Lok Sabha Election 2019 Phase 3: Overall Voter Turnout At 63.04%; Kerala Sees Record Polling

Polling in phase 3 in West Bengal was marred by widespread clashes that resulted in the death of a Congress worker.

NurPhoto via Getty Images

7:00 pm: Overall Voter Turnout As Estimated By EC 

The estimated voter turnout, according the Election Commission across all states and union territories, for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 phase 3 was at 63.04% 

The final turnout numbers are still awaited. 

6:45 pm: Estimated Voter Turnout Till 6 pm

The total voter turnout across all states and union territories in Lok Sabha Elections 2019 phase 3 till 6 pm was 62.88%. 

Assam 74.65%

Bihar 59.97%

Goa 71.09%

Gujarat 59.77%

J&K 12.86%

Karnataka 64.15%

Kerala 70.20%

Maharashtra 56.25%

Odisha 58.18%

Tripura 78.37%

Uttar Pradesh 57.64%

West Bengal 79.36%

Chhattisgarh 65.14%

Dadra & Nagar Haveli 71.43%

Daman & Diu 65.34%

6:33 pm: ‘Modi Habitual Offender’: Congress Moves EC Over Modi’s Speech After Voting

The Congress on Tuesday said they have approached the Election Commission over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech after he cast his vote in Ahmedabad.

Modi also approached the polling booth in an open jeep, waving at the crowds lined up on both sides of the street. Modi also interacted with voters inside the polling booth and then walked on the street holding up his inked finger. 

“Today after casting his vote, PM took out a long procession and delivered a speech. There has never been such a clear violation of MCC, he is a habitual offender. We appealed to EC to bar him from campaigning for 48-72 hours,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi told ANI

6:03 pm: Mamata Says Central Forces In Bengal Poll Booths Asking People To Vote For BJP

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday alleged that the central forces were working for the BJP by asking voters in Maldaha Dakshin and Balurghat constituencies, where polling was held today, to cast their votes for the saffron party. Pointing out that the central forces do not have the right to ask voters to vote for BJP candidates, Banerjee said the Election Commission has been apprised of it.

“I have got information that the central forces are sitting inside booths in Englishbazar in Maldaha Dakshin and asking voters to vote for the BJP. They do not have the right to do such thing. We have informed the Election Commission about our reservations regarding this,” she said. “Why are they (central forces) doing it? The police cannot enter a polling booth,” she added.

This comes even as there was widespread clashes in West Bengal during the the third phase of polling. One Congress worker died in Murshidabad and three TMC workers were injured. 

5:27 pm: Polling Booth Set Up For One Person In Gujarat’s Gir Forest

5:22 pm: Man Booked In Thiruvananthapuram For False Complaint On VVPAT

A man in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram was arrested for lodging a false complaint on EVMs. 

ANI reported that Abin Babu, a voter at booth no. 151 in Vattiyoorkavu, had alleged that his vote had gone to another candidate. 

News18 said a case was registered under Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code (furnishing false information). 

5:20 pm: Congress Workers Protest Outside EC Office In Bengal

Congress workers in West Bengal protested outside the EC office after a Congress worker was killed during clashes in Murshidabad, News18 reported

State president Somendra Nath Mitra said his Congress only wanted free and fair elections in the state. 

5:17 pm: Polling Adjourned In 2 Odisha Booths Because Of VVPAT Malfunctioning

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Odisha has adjourned voting in two polling booths in the state because of wrong pairing of VVPAT machines. In a press statement, Odisha CEO Surendra Kumar said, “VVPAT meant for Parliamentary constituency was mistakenly attached to Control&Ballot Unit meant for Assembly constituency during replacement. Error was detected after 22 votes were polled.”

5:05 pm: Voter Turnout Till 5 pm

The total voter turnout across all states and union territories in Lok Sabha Elections phase 3 till 5 pm was 56.50%

Here is the state wise turnout:

Assam 72.03%

Bihar 47.87%

Goa 61.87%

Gujarat 52.53%

J&K 11.22%

Karnataka 58.95%

Kerala 65.06%

Maharashtra 47.96%

Odisha 51.67%

Tripura 67.41%

Uttar Pradesh 50.93%

West Bengal 68.84%

Chhattisgarh 56.88%

Dadra & Nagar Haveli 56.81%

Daman & Diu 64.20%

5:05 pm: Varun Gandhi Visits Polling Booth In Pilibhit

BJP’s Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi visited a polling booth in the Lok Sabha constituency during polling in phase 3 of the Lok Sabha polls. 

The incumbent MP from Pilibhit is Varun’s mother Maneka Gandhi. She is contesting from Sultanpur where Varun is incumbent MP. 

4:36 pm: PDP, NC Workers Clash In Anantnag

A reporter from Kashmir tweeted out a video that showed people fighting at a booth in Kashmir’s Bijbehara. The tweet said that the ruckus was between PDP and NC workers. 

Anantnag saw a very poor voter turnout during the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, with Kashmiris refusing to come out and vote. 

4:30 pm: 11 Uttar Pradesh Candidates Were Found Asking For Votes On Social Media

The chief electoral officer in Uttar Pradesh has sought details from district magistrates after 11 candidates in fray for the third phase of Lok Sabha elections 2019 were found asking for votes on social media in the 48 hours before polls on Tuesday.

According to the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, five candidates of the BJP, four of the SP-BSP alliance and two of the Congress have been found using social media in the past 48 hours, even though the electioneering period had ended.

They are Parmeshwar Lal Saini (Sambhal), Chandrasen Jadon (Firozabad), Sanghmitra Maurya (Badaun), Rajvir Singh (Etah), Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar Singh (Moradabad) from the BJP, Hemraj Verma (Pilibhit), Akshay Yadav ( Firozabad), Ruchi Veera (Aonla), Bhagwat Saran Gangwar (Bareilly) from the SP-BSP combine, Imran Pratapgarhi (Moradabad) and Praveen Singh Aron (Bareilly) from the Congress, officials said.

4:28 pm: Woman Dies In Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh Lok Sabha Constituency

A 46-year-old woman collapsed Tuesday waiting in queue to cast her vote in Raigarh Lok Sabha constituency in Chhattisgarh and later died at hospital. The woman, Anjela Toppo, was waiting for her turn to exercise her franchise at polling booth no.3 in police line area in the Raigarh district headquarter when she collapsed, said Raigarh Additional Superintendent of Police Abhishek Verma told PTI.

Her family said she had been unwell for a while. 

4:05 pm: Voter Dies In Uttar Pradesh’s Aonla

Hindustan Times reports that a 60-year-old voter in Uttar Pradesh’s Aonla Lok Sabha constituency died because of an asthmatic attack. 

He was waiting in queue to vote.  

3:55 pm: Polling Agent Found Dead In West Bengal’s Dakshin Dinajpur, Plus More Crude Bombs

Now, ANIreports that a polling agent was found dead in his home in Buniadpur, Dakshin Dinajpur. 

The news agency also reported that crude bombs were hurled at a polling booth in Murshidabad’s Raninagar area by unknown assailants. 

3:53 pm: Azam Khan Casts Vote In Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur 

3:36 pm Polling Official Dies In Odisha’s Dhenkanal

ANI is reporting that a polling official died in Odisha’s Dhenkanal after collapsing while duty. 

3:17 pm: Voter Waiting In Queue Killed In West Bengal As TMC-BJP Clashes Intensify

One person has been reportedly killed in clashes between BJP and Congress workers in Baligram in West Bengal’s Murshidabad during phase three of the Lok Sabha elections 2019

Hindustan Times reported that the man was identified as Piyarul Abul Kalam. Meanwhile, NDTV reported that it was a Congress worker who was stabbed to death. 

West Bengal is seeing widespread clashes between party workers. Earlier in the day, TMC and BJP workers razed each other’s camp offices in Motigunj. 

When polling started there were reports that crude bombs had also been hurled at TMC workers in Murshidabad’s Domkal municipality, injuring three. 

3:15 pm: Voter Turnout Till 3 pm

The total voter turnout across all states and union territories in Lok Sabha Elections phase 3 till 3 pm was 49.38%

Here is the state wise turnout:

Assam 62.13%

Bihar 46.94%

Goa 56.83%

Gujarat 48.36%

J&K 10.47%

Karnataka 49.39%

Kerala 53.00%

Maharashtra 42.82%

Odisha 44.25%

Tripura 55.25%

Uttar Pradesh 42.69%

West Bengal 66.80%

Chhattisgarh 53.83%

Dadra & Nagar Haveli 49.64%

Daman & Diu 53.72%

3:14 pm: Manmohan Singh Casts Vote From Assam’s Dispur 

3:12 pm: PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti Casts Her Vote In J&K

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti cast her vote in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bijbehara area in Anantnag. 

Anantnag has seen the lowest voter turnout numbers in phase 3. 

2:25 pm: More TMC-BJP Clashes Reported From Bengal

News18 reports that the Motiganj are of the North 24 Parganas of West Bengal saw clashes between BJP and TMC workers. The report said that TMC workers reportedly ransacked BJP’s camp office and then BJP workers did the same to the TMC camp office in the area. 

2:15 pm: 6 Voters Die In Kerala

According to Manorama Online, six voters have so far died in Kerala during voting in phase three of the Lok Sabha elections 2019. 

First, a 65-year-old woman died in Kannnur while waiting in queue to vote. One more death was reported from Pezhumpara near Ranni where a man fainted while entering a polling booth. The third person, an 87-year-old fainted in a booth near Kalady and later died in hospital. 

A 74-year-old died after collapsing in a polling booth in Kandiyoor near Mavelikkara. A 64-year-old man from the Adivasi Colony in Anjanikkunnu near Panamaram also collapsed while going to the polling booth and declared “brought dead” to the hospital. 

Another voter from Talipparamba died after casting his vote. 

1:55 pm Arun Jaitley Votes From Ahmedabad

1:50 pm: Central Forces Influencing Voters To Vote For BJP In Malda, Says TMC

The ruling Trinamool Congress has reportedly with the sub divisional officer in English Bazaar of Malda South constituency. They said in the complaint that central forces were influencing voters to cast their votes for the BJP, reported Hindustan Times.

Times Now also tweeted a video of a man helping a voter in English Bazaar. 

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections in rural West Bengal have been extremely polarised. Huffpost India’s Piyasree Dasgupta had reported from Harishchandrapur, a village in Malda, that Muslim women did not trust the BJP with the Triple Talaq issue and readily associated readily associated the BJP with violence and prejudice directed at their community.

1:41 pm: LK Advani Votes From Ahmedabad

1:09 pm: Voter Turnout Till 1 pm 

The total voter turnout across all states and union territories in Lok Sabha Elections phase 3 was 26.60%. 

Here are the state wise voter turnouts:

Assam 43.37%

Bihar 26.52 %

Goa 29.14%

Gujarat 25.88%

J&K 4.72%

Karnataka 23.79%

Kerala 31.59%

Maharashtra 18.45%

Odisha 20.12%

Tripura 29.54%

Uttar Pradesh 23.98%

West Bengal 37.84%

Chhattisgarh 30.85%

Dadra & Nagar Haveli 21.62%

Daman & Diu 23.93%

12:45 pm: Dismal Voting In J&K’s Anantnag, Only 1% Turnout In Bijbehara

Voting in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency’s Anantnag area was a dismal 1.50% during the first four hours of polling. 

Polling in other areas of the constituency was also slow. 9.60% voter turnout was recorded in Dooru, Korernag saw voter turnout of 9.50%, Shangus 7.70%, Bijbehara 1%, Pehelgam 10.10%. 

Earlier in the day, former chief minister Omar Abdullah urged voters to step out and cast their votes.

12:12 pm: Snake In VVPAT Machine Stalls Voting In Kannur

Indian elections are colourful, and each day of polling throws up a new surprise. Voting in Kerala’s Kannur Lok Sabha constituency had to be halted because of a snake inside the VVPAT machine. 

Hindustan Times reported that the tiny snake was removed from the VVPAT machine in the polling booth at Mayyil Kandakkai in the constitutency. The report said that the booth has been seeing heavy polling and that the snake incident triggered panic among officials. 

12:00 pm: Hardik Patel’s Racist Chowkidar Jibe

Congress leader Hardik Patel took a dig at BJP’s “chowkidaar” slogan, but went a bit racist with his jibe. 

After casting his vote in the Surendranagar constituency of Gujarat, he said, “Chowkidaar dhoondhna hoga toh mein Nepal chala jaaunga, mujhe desh mein PM chahiye jo iss desh ke arthvyavastha ko, shiksha ko, yuvaon, jawanon ko mazboot kar sake. Mujhe chowkidar nahi pradhan mantri chahiye. (If I need a ‘chowkidaar’ I will go to Nepal. I want a PM for the country who will strengthen the economy, education, youth in the country. I don’t want a chowkidar, I want a prime minister).”

11:50 am: Akhilesh Yadav Says EVMs Across India Malfunctioning, Calls It ‘Criminal Negligence’

Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said on Tuesday that EVMs across the country were malfunctioning. He took to Twitter to allege that most EC officials were not equipped to handle EVMs and called it “criminal negligence”. 

11:40 am: ‘Give Your Anger A Voice’: Omar Abdullah Urges Anantnag to Vote

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah took to Twitter on Tuesday, urging people in Anantnag to cast their vote. 

Kashmir has been seeing low voter turnouts in this phase with only 4.72% of the people have exercised their franchise in Anantnag. 

“To the voters of Anantnag, please don’t reward the death, destruction & deceit of the last 4 years by staying home & boycotting the election. Come out & vote to give your anger a voice. Vote for the best candidate in the field,” Abdullah said. 

11:31 am: Voter Turnout Till 11 am

The total voter turnout till 11 am was 22.68% across India. Here are the state wise numbers

Assam 28.64%

Bihar 25.65% 

Goa 27.21%

Gujarat 23.11%

Jammu and Kashmir 4.72%

Karnataka 20.63%

Kerala 24.61%

Maharashtra 14.95%

Odisha 17.19%

Tripura 25.40%

Uttar Pradesh 22.11%

West Bengal 34.58%

Chhattisgarh 26.57%

Dadra & Nagar Haveli 17.67%

Daman & Diu 23.27%

11: 15 am: Mohanlal, Mammootty Cast Their Votes In Kerala

11:11 am Anna Hazare Casts Vote In Ralegan Siddhi

10:55 am: Woman Dies In Kannur While Waiting To Vote

Hindustan Times reported that a woman in Kerala’s Kannur died while waiting in queue to vote in the third phase of the General Election. 

10:52 am: NDA Candidate From Wayanad Seeks Repolling

Thushar Vellappally, the NDA candidate from Wayanad, has demanded repolling in the Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, alleging EVM malfunctioning, ANI reports.

Wayanad has been in the limelight since Congress president Rahul Gandhi (profile) announced that he would contest from there, apart from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

10:40 am: In UP’s Rampur, E-Rickshaw Drivers Reportedly Hired By SP Detained

Meanwhile in Rampur, where actor-turned-politician and BJP candidate Jaya Prada (profile) and Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan are contesting against each other, e-rickshaw drivers have been detained. 

Hindustan Times reports that they were hired by the Samajwadi party to ferry voters. 

10:32 am: 3 TMC Workes Injured In Crude Bomb Blast

Three Trinamool Congress workers in Murshidabad’s Domkal municipality were injured after a crude bomb was reportedly hurled at them. This comes after reports the husband of a Trinamool Congress councillor of the Domkal municipality was hospitalised after being beaten with sticks.

West Bengal has seen clashes and attacks on political party workers since the elections began on 11 April. While the ruling Mamata Banerjee government has blamed the Opposition parties and the BJP, the BJP in turn has accused Mamata Banerjee of jungle raj in the state. 

 

10:30 am: Shashi Tharoor Casts Vote In Thiruvananthapuram

Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram candidate Shashi Tharoor cast his vote in Kerala today. 

10:25 am: PM Modi’s Mother Heeraben Modi Cast Her Vote In Ahmedabad

Heeraben Modi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother, cast her vote in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. 

PM Modi visited his mother before he cast his vote, and sought her blessings. 

9:52 am: Voter turnout till 9 am

Across India: 10.09%

Assam 12.36%

Bihar 12.64%

Goa 11.70%

Gujarat 9.98%

Jammu and Kashmir 1.59%

Karnataka 7.42%

Maharashtra 6.40%

Odisha 7.15%

Tripura 5.83%

Uttar Pradesh 10.36%

West Bengal 16.85%

Chhattisgarh 12.58%

Dadra and Nagar Haveli 10.59%

Daman and Diu 9.93%

9:50 am: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Casts Vote 

9:31 am: Amit Shah Casts Vote From Ahmedabad’s Naranpura

BJP chief Amit Shah (profile) and his wife Sonal Shah cast their votes from the polling booth in Naranpura Sub-Zonal office in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. 

Shah is contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the first time from the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency where LK Advani is the incumbent MP. 

The BJP did not give a party ticket to veteran Advani, ending the poll road in his political career. 

9:21 am: Voting Delayed In Pathanamthitta Because EVMs Not Working

According to The News Minute, EVMs are not working in five booths of Kerala’s Pathanamthitta constituency because of which polling has been delayed. 

9:15 am: Here’s Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad Connection

Congress president Rahul Gandhi does indeed have an old Wayanad connection. A report in Malayala Manoram said that on 19 June 1970, Wayanad native Rajamma Rajappan was the nurse on duty when Sonia Gandhi gave birth at the New Delhi’s Holy Family hospital.

Her colleagues and she took care of the newborn for a week at the hospital. 

Rajappan said she hoped to see Gandhi in Wayanad soon. 

8:40 pm: Voter ID More Important Than IED, Modi Says After Casting Vote

After climbing onto his jeep, Modi told the media, “I did my duty by casting my vote.” This was interrupted by loud cheers of ‘Modi, Modi’. 

“Like you feel pure after a holy dip in Kumbh, one feels pure after casting vote in this festival of democracy,” he said. 

He said people must come out to vote for a ‘bright future’. 

Now addressing journalists he said, “My journalist friends have been working hard for the past one month in this heat, I am grateful to you. You have been relentlessly covering the election, thank you very much.”

He also made political statements like “voter ID more important than IED”. 

 

8:28 am: Modi Casts Vote, Now Takes A Padyatra

Television visuals showed Modi taking a padyatra after he cast his vote. He held up his finger marked by the indelible ink, and walked out and waved to the people lined up on both sides of the street. 

Is the election commission watching? 

8:25 am: Modi’s Procession Ahead Of Voting Violation Of Poll Code?

In 2014, Narendra Modi had flashed the BJP symbol after he cast his vote. While the lotus was nowhere to be seen, Modi drove up in a jeep, waving to people — almost like it was a mini roadshow. 

He came in a cavalcade, got off and interacted with voters and posed for a picture with a baby in tow. 

If rules of the Model Code of Conduct is anything to go by, this could be a clear violation. 

8:20 am: Supriya Sule Casts Vote From Maharashtra’s Baramati

8:15 am: Dull Beginning To Voting In Anantnag

While the Anantnag district of Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir is polling today, officials say it began on a dull note. PTI reported officials as saying residents in most parts of the district in restive south Kashmir have stayed indoors so far, an official said.

While polling is underway in Anantnag district, voting in Kulgam district will be held on 29 April while Pulwama and Shopian districts will go to polls on 6 May.

The Election Commission has curtailed the polling duration for Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency by two hours after a request from the state police. The voting will be held in south Kashmir areas from 7 am to 4 pm.

8:06 am: TMC Councillor’s Husband Beaten With Sticks In Bengal

Hindustan Times reports that the husband of a Trinamool Congress councillor of the Domkal municipality was hospitalised after being beaten with sticks. The report says that TMC has alleged hat supporters of the Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) attacked him 

7:57 am: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan Stand In Queue To Cast Vote

7:36 am: Modi Meets Mother Before Casting Vote

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting his mother in Gandhinagar before he casts his vote in Ahmedabad today. 

Reports say Amit Shah will accompany Modi to the polling booth. 

7:26 am: PM Modi, Manmohan Singh To Cast Vote Today

Phase 3 of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 is not only going to see some star candidates like Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BJP President Amit Shah, it will also see some star voters. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will cast his vote from the booth in the Ranip area of the city, which falls under the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh will vote from Guwahati. LK Advani and Amit Shah will also cast his vote. 

Arun Jaitley will also cast his vote from a booth in SG Highway in Ahmedabad. 

7:23 am: Karnataka Leaders Flock To Temples As Polling Begins

Karnataka leaders are flocking to temples as polling begins in 14 constituencies. BJP candidate from Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency, Dr Umesh Jadhav, was seen at the Sharana Basaveshwara Temple in Kalaburagi. Former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa visited Hucharaya Swamy temple in Shikaripura, in Shimoga district

6:53 am: Preparations At Polling Booths Already In Full Swing

Polling officials in booths across India have been preparing for voting much before the voters queue up to cast their votes. They conduct mock polls and test out EVMs and VVPATs to ensure they actually work during polling. 

Here are some visuals ANI tweeted from Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala. 

6:45 am: Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah In Fray; Polling To Begin At 7 am

The electorate in 12 states and two union territories will cast their votes in Phase 3 of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 on Tuesday. As people cast their votes, we’ll bring you live updates through the day — the good, the bad and the ugly.

Malfunctioning EVMs across the country, clashes in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tripura marked the first two phases of polling, with opposition parties blaming the ruling BJP government for people being unable to vote. There were reports of several leaders flexing their muscles and breaking poll code —  the opposition alleged that Nagaland’s deputy chief minister voted eight times and BJP MP from Bulandshahr Bhola Singh sought “blessings” from voters inside a polling booth.

Political bigwigs like Rahul Gandhi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shashi Tharoor and Amit Shah are all in the fray on Tuesday.

For the latest elections news and more, follow HuffPost India on TwitterFacebook, and subscribe to our newsletter.

All the seats in Gujarat (26), Kerala (20), Goa (2), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1) and Daman and Diu (1) go to polls in the third of the seven-phase election. Besides, polling will also be held in four seats in Assam, five in Bihar, seven in Chhattisgarh, one in Jammu and Kashmir, 14 in Karnataka, 14 in Maharashtra, six in Odisha, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, and five in West Bengal.

Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP faces a tough battle from the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance. These elections saw arch-rivals Mulayam Singh Yadav (profile) and Mayawati burying the hatchet and even campaigning together. The BJP had won seven out of the 10 seats in UP that are going to poll on Tuesday.

Rampur is seeing a bitterly battle between actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada (profile) and Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan. While BJP’s Nepal Singh is the incumbent MP, Jaya Prada has won from this seat in 2004 and 2009.

Varun Gandhi (profile) has exchanged constituencies with his mother Maneka Gandhi and is now contesting from Pilibhit which goes to polls on Tuesday. While Maneka is the sitting MP and a six-time winner from the seat, Varun is currently the MP from Sultanpur. Varun has earlier won from Pilibhit in  2009.

A total of 1.76 crore voters will exercise their franchise in UP in the third phase.

Gujarat

Gujarat is one of the strongholds of the BJP in the country. In 2014, the BJP had swept all 26 seats in the state. This time around, BJP chief Amit Shah (profile) is is fighting his first Lok Sabha battle from Gandhinagar replacing veteran leader LK Advani. No party ticket for Advani meant the end of the poll road for him. Shah will take on Congress’s CJ Chavda.

In Vadodara, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi won in 2014, and gave up his seat for Ranjanben Bhatt after he chose with stay with Varanasi, the latter is taking on Congress’s Prashant Patel. While actor-turned-politician Paresh Rawal won from Ahmedabad East in 2014, he has not been given a BJP ticket this year.

Kerala

In Kerala, the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency has constantly made headlines because of Congress president Rahul Gandhi (profile) who is contesting from there. He is fighting against CPI’s PP Suneer.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor (profile) is contesting from Thiruvananthapuram where he is looking to become the MP for the third straight time. He is taking on BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan, who resigned as the Mizoram governor to contest on a BJP ticket.

In Pathanamthitta,  ground zero for Sabarimala protests, the BJP has fielded K Surendran (profile) a leader from north Kerala who was jailed during the agitation. Over 240 cases have been filed against him. Other important candidates from Kerala include Alphonse Kannanthanam from and Suresh Gopi from Thrissur.

Prime Minister Modi has campaigned for the BJP in Kerala as the party tried to make inroads into Kerala politics. Sabarimala has been one of the major issues that the BJP has been campaigning with, trying to tell voters that the communist government is anti-Hindus. Countering the prime minister, Vijayan had accused him of “misleading” the country on the Sabarimala issue and said only those who went against the law were arrested (during the protests over Sabarimala issue).

The state had witnessed frenzied protests by devotees and others last year after the state government decided to implement the Supreme Court order allowing women of all ages into the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala, setting aside a traditional ban. The LDF and UDF also raised the Sabarimala issue. While the UDF said it was with the believers, the LDF sought votes on the plank of uprooting communalism from the state.

Maharashtra

The 14 seats going to polls in Maharashtra are Jalgaon, Raver (both in north Maharashtra), Jalna, Aurangabad (Marathwada), Raigad, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg (Konkan), Pune, Baramati, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Hathkanangale (western Maharashtra) and Ahmednagar (south Maharashtra).

The prominent seats in the third phase include Jalna, where state BJP president Raosaheb Danveis in the fray against Vilas Autade of the Congress. In Baramati Supriya Sule, the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, is contesting against BJP’s Kanchan Kul.

Another keenly watched seat will be Ahmednagar, where Sujay Vikhe Patil is the BJP’s nominee. He is the son of Congress veteran and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. Sujay Vikhe Patil joined the BJP in the run-up to the polls, after the NCP refused to vacate the Ahmednagar seat for the Congress. He is now pitted against NCP’s Sangram Jagtap.

HuffPost India’s Pavan Dahat reported on Monday that MNS leader Raj Thackeray, who hasn’t been relevant in the state for a long time, is now trying to play spoiler for the BJP by holding rallies around the state where he trolls and fact-checks Modi. Read it here.

Odisha

In Odisha, prominent candidates are BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab who is seeking re-election from Cuttack Lok Sabha seat and sitting BJD MP from Puri Pinaki Mishra, who is fighting to retain the parliamentary constituency. In Puri, Pinaki Mishra is facing a stiff challenge from BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra. It has turned out to be an uphill task for Mahtab in Cuttack where the BJP has pitted retired IPS officer and former Director General of CRPF and ex-DGP of Odisha, Prakash Mishra against him. Also in the race in the Lok Sabha segment is Congress nominee and ex-minister, Panchanan Kanungo.

A senior police official told PTI that several areas going to the polls have been identified as critical, tight security arrangements have been made to ensure free, fair and peaceful poll.

Goa

Goa sends two MPs to the parliament, and right now both of them are from the BJP. The party has fielded sitting MPs Pad Yesso Naik and Narendra Keshav Sawaikar from North and South Goa respectively. After the death of Manohar Parrikar, the Goa BJP has faced a leadership crisis.

(With PTI inputs)