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First Phase of Lok Sabha Elections Kick Off Across 21 States and Union Territories

The first phase of Lok Sabha elections in 2024 commenced across 102 parliamentary constituencies spanning 21 states and Union Territories. Alongside the Lok Sabha elections, polling for assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim also started. In Arunachal Pradesh, voting took place for two Lok Sabha seats and the 60-member Assembly, while Sikkim voted for 32 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his third consecutive term, faces opposition from the INDIA bloc, a coalition formed to challenge the BJP’s dominance. However, allegations of unfair practices have marred the electoral process, with opposition leaders facing arrests and financial restrictions.

Approximately 16.63 crore voters participated in the first phase, with 1625 candidates vying for victory, including prominent figures like Nitin Gadkari, Kiren Rijiju, Bhupendra Yadav, and Arjun Ram Meghwal. The Election Commission deployed around 18 lakh personnel across 1.87 lakh polling stations to ensure smooth conduct of the elections.

Key issues driving the elections include unemployment, violence against women, farmers’ grievances, paper leaks, land rights for tribal communities, and rising prices. A pre-poll survey highlighted concerns over inflation and unemployment as primary issues among voters.

Various states witnessed heated debates on local issues, such as the demands of tea garden workers in Assam, healthcare challenges in Nagaland, tourism management in Uttarakhand, and flood relief in Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, concerns over pollution of the Yamuna river dominated discussions in Delhi and Haryana.

Special arrangements were made for internally displaced voters in Manipur, where elections are held in two phases due to ethnic violence. The Election Commission ensured stringent security measures, including the deployment of central forces and surveillance teams, to maintain peace and integrity during the electoral process.

The first phase of polling set the stage for a highly anticipated electoral battle, with subsequent phases scheduled in the coming weeks leading up to June 1.

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