On Thursday, April 18, Phase 2 of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will commence in 97 different constituencies across 13 different states.
Voters in Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Puducherry will be heading to the polls to elect their representatives.
All constituencies in Tamil Nadu will vote on April 18. Odisha will also conduct assembly elections in parallel with the Lok Sabha elections.
The model code of conduct (MCC) is in force during the second phase as well. The rules outlined in the MCC dictate parties’ and candidates’ conduct during campaigns and polling.
Key fights in phase 2
The second phase will see a few incumbents fighting for re-election.
Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri constituency is expected to be a battleground for the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
Former Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss will stand against AIADMK candidate Palaniappan. Ramadoss is expected to face an anti-incumbency wave, but could win the seat because of his stronghold here, regardless.
In UP’s Nagina, the incumbent BJP candidate will face off against what has been dubbed the “mahagathbandhan”, or the major coalition between the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), pand Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) party.
The sitting BJP MP, Yashwant Singh, will be competing against the mahagathbandhan candidate Girish Chandra, who is also a member of the BSP.
Singh is in an interesting position as a candidate. As a Dalit member of the BJP, he has criticised the ruling party’s handling of minority issues in UP, particularly the dilution of the SC/ST Atrocities Act.
Singh also individually penned a letter to PM Modi elections stating that Modi provided much hope for the Dalit community but has not delivered on a single promise in the past four years.
Nagina is one of the eight constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes/Tribes. It currently has a 21% SC population, that may be an important demographic in the election, says the Economic Times.
Even Aligarh in UP is a high-profile fight as PM Modi has visited the constituency himself for a rally. BJP candidate Satish Kumar Gautam will take on the SP-BSP alliance candidate, Ajit Baliyan, as he did in 2014.
West Bengal’s Raiganj seat will also see a close contest between four major parties—BJP, CPI(M), Congress, and BJP.
Although Mamata Banerjee’s TMC is popular in West Bengal, it has never won a seat in Raiganj. CPI(M)’s Mohammed Salim won the seat in 2014. The Congress candidate came second by less than 2,000 votes.
Phase 3 will begin on April 23. 115 seats will be up for grabs in Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Puducherry.
At the end of the first phase, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh alleged that electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioned in 157 polling booths.
TDP chief, Chandrababu Naidu, accused the EC of doing the BJP’s bidding by not taking his allegations seriously.
“It was an infringement of citizens’ voting rights in recent Andhra Pradesh polls due to a colossal failure of election machinery. EVMs malfunctioning for 2-6 hrs led to voters returning without voting. In numerous instances, VVPAT slips was shown only for 3 sec instead of 7 sec”, he said on Twitter.
Indians from 543 constituencies will vote for their new Lok Sabha representatives in seven phases between April 11 and May 19. The MCC will be in force throughout. The EC is expected to declare results on May 23.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius.