Polling begins for 51 seats in fifth phase of LS elections

People wait in a queue to cast their vote at a polling booth in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections in Nagaur, Rajasthan on May 6, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
People wait in a queue to cast their vote at a polling booth in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections in Nagaur, Rajasthan on May 6, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Polling began this morning amidst tight security for 51 seats from seven states, most of them in the Hindi heartland, in the fifth of the seven phases of the crucial elections to choose a new 543-member Lok Sabha.
Voting began at 7 am and will conclude at 6 pm.
This phase of polling covers the 12 remaining constituencies in Rajasthan, 14 in Uttar Pradesh, five in Bihar, seven in Madhya Pradesh, four in Jharkhand, seven in West Bengal and two in Jammu and Kashmir.
They also include Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir, where the elections are being held in three phases, the only such constituency in the country. Voting was held in Anantnag district on April 23 and in Kulgam on April 29 in the third and fourth phases of polling. On Monday, polling will be held in Shopian and Pulwama districts of the constituency.
More than 8.75 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in these constituencies which have 674 candidates in the fray.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has set up more than 96,000 polling booths to ensure the smooth conduct of polls.
The first four phases of polling were held on April 11, April 18, April 23 and April 29. The remaining two phases of polling will be held on May 12 and May 19. Counting of votes will be taken up on May 23.
Among the constituencies involved in today's polling are Amethi and Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, from where Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, are contesting, respectively.
In Rae Bareli, Sonia Gandhi, who has held the seat from 2004, is facing former Congress leader Dinesh Pratap Singh of the BJP. In Amethi, Rahul Gandhi will again face Union Minister Smriti Irani.
Among other prominent candidates in the fray in today's polls are Union Ministers Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Jayant Sinha (Hazaribagh) and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (Jaipur Rural).
In the 2014 elections, the BJP had won 39 of these 51 seats -- all 12 in Rajasthan, 12 of 14 in Uttar Pradesh, all seven in Madhya Pradesh, three of five in Bihar, all four in Jharkhand and one of two in Jammu and Kashmir.
In West Bengal, all seven seats were won by the Trinamool Congress, in Bihar, one was won by BJP ally Lok Janshakti Party and one by then ally Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, and in Jammu and Kashmir, one seat was Peoples Democratic Party.
The Congress had only bagged Amethi and Rae Bareli. 
(With inputs from IANS)

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