Security tightened ahead of first phase of elections

April 15th, 2009 - 1:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Apr 15 (ANI): With the Election Commission identifying the twenty-three thousand villages that would go to polls for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on Thursday as “vulnerable”, the onus is now on the central and state governments to ensure peaceful elections.

A total of 1,715 candidates, including 122 women, are contesting for the 124 seats, where over nine lakh officials have been deployed across 1.85 lakh polling stations.

Deputy Election Commissioner R. Balakrishnan has assured to deploy Central paramilitary forces along with state security forces at the polling booths.

The government has also ordered for a stringent check on the state borders to prevent movement of criminals and liquor.

The elections are expected to be conducted in a much better manner this time as photo electoral rolls will be used in almost all the constituencies going to the polls in the first phase. These photo electoral rolls would help in preventing bogus voting and easy identification of voters.

Also, this time the voting would happen post delimitation where the outlines of several constituencies have been redefined.

Campaigning for 124 constituencies in 17 states and Union Territories for the first phase of elections ended on Tuesday. The stage is now set for the voters to elect members to the 15th Lok Sabha.

While all the 20 seats in Kerala, two in Meghalaya and 11 in Chhattisgarh would go to polls in a single phase on Thursday, polling will be held in 13 out of 40 seats in Bihar, 16 out of 80 in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra 13 (48), Andhra Pradesh 22 (42), six in Jharkhand, Orissa 10 (21), Assam 3 (14), Arunachal Pradesh 2 (2), Manipur 1 (2) and Jammu and Kashmir 1 (6).

Elections for the lone seats in Andaman and Nicobar islands, Lakshadweep, Mizoram and Nagaland would also be held.

Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa will also be held simultaneously on Thursday.The prominent leaders contesting in the first phase include Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad Yadav, Telangana Rashtra Samiti’s K Chandrasekhar Rao, former Union Minister B Dattatreya, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Murli Manohar Joshi, Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury, NTR’s daughter D Purandeswari and actress Vijayasanthi.

The 15th Lok Sabha elections will take place in five phases on April 16, 22, 23, 30 and May 7 and 13 throughout the country.

The five phased polls will be held in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh while Bihar will have four-phased elections.

Maharashtra and West Bengal will witness three phased polls while Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Punjab will have elections in two phases.

Remaining 15 states and seven union territories will have one-day polling.

The counting of votes will take place on May 16.

The 543-member House will be constituted before June 2. (ANI)

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