Lok Sabha polls: India votes in phase 2, EVM tampering complaints in Bengal
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Lok Sabha polls: India votes in phase 2, EVM tampering complaints in Bengal

In the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections, 88 seats across 13 states are up for grabs. All eyes are on the high-profile seats of Wayanad and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala as well as Mathura and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.

Voting in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections for 88 seats across 13 states is underway. All eyes are on Kerala, where polling is happening in all 20 constituencies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged citizens, especially the young and women voters, to vote in "record numbers".

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has received over 290 complaints in Bengal, mostly related to EVM malfunctioning. In a letter to the poll body, the ruling Trinamool Congress sought its immediate intervention. However, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar slammed the party, saying courts have repeatedly said there is nothing wrong with the EVMs and yet people keep questioning them.

Several prominent people have cast their votes since morning, including Congress's Shashi Tharoor, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, author and philanthropist Sudha Murty and her husband and Infosys founder Narayana Murthy, actor Prakash Raj, Team India coach Rahul Dravid, and his former teammate Anil Kumble, among others.

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Lok Sabha polls: India votes in phase 2, EVM tampering complaints in Bengal

Voting across 88 seats in 13 seats is underway in the second phase of Lok Sabha polls. Visuals showed people queueing up outside polling booths to cast their votes. Several prominent people like Rahul Dravid, and ISRO chief S Somanath were snapped awaiting in queues to cast their votes in Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram, respectively.

According to the Election Commission data, the voter turnout till 11 am was recorded as the highest in Tripura at 36.42%, followed by 35.47% in Chhattisgarh, 33.22% in Manipur, 31.25% in Bengal, and 27.43% in Assam. The lowest voter turnout was recorded at 18.83% in Maharashtra.

Chaos erupted in Bengal's Balurghat after 'go back' slogans were raised at state BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar, and police forces rushed to control the situation. Majumdar, who is the BJP candidate for the seat, blamed ruling Trinamool Congress's "hooligans" for the incident.

Earlier in the day, a war of words broke out between the BJP and the Trinamool over attempts to influence voters in Balurghart and Raiganj. Trinamool claimed central forces were undermining the democratic process and stopping women voters, while Sukanta Majumdar hit back, alleging the ruling party was distributing money among voters.

Chaos was reported in Mangalore as well after a BJP worker objected to Congress Dakshin Kannada pick Padmaraj speaking to the media within 100 metres of a polling station after casting his vote. The police rushed to the scene and took the BJP worker.

Kerala is witnessing the battle of heavyweights with Rahul Gandhi striving to retain his Wayanad seat, and Congress veteran Shashi Tharoor hoping to win for the fourth time from Thiruvananthapuram against Union Minister and BJP leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar. After casting his vote, Tharoor said he was "confident" about victory and called the elections "far greater than my own future".

Among the eight constituencies voting today, the focus is on Mathura and Meerut. BJP pick Hema Malini is seeking a hat-trick from Mathura, while the party's Meerut candidate Arun Govil, famous for playing Lord Ram's character on the Ramayan TV show, made his electoral debut.

Furthermore, voting is being held in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad. All schools, colleges, factories and industries are shut today in these regions due to the polls. BJP's Ghaziabad candidate Atul Garg cast his vote and urged all voters to exercise their democratic right to bring about a responsible and good government.

Polling is underway on all 20 seats in Kerala and 14 of the 28 seats in Karnataka are in this phase. As many as 13 seats in Rajasthan, eight seats each in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, seven seats in Madhya Pradesh, five seats each in Assam and Bihar, three seats each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, and one seat each in Manipur, Tripura and Jammu and Kashmir are also in the polls today.

There are a total of 1,210 candidates in the fray in this phase. The BSP has fielded the most candidates in this phase at 74, followed by the BJP at 69 and the Congress at 68.

Source: India Today

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