26 Apr 2024

Second Phase of Lok Sabha Election 2024 Witnesses About 61% Turnout Across 88 Seats

In second phase of Lok Sabha Election-2024, voting unfolded across 88 constituencies spanning 13 states and Union Territories amidst a contentious clash between the Congress and the BJP over manifestos and inheritance tax. Notably, polling has concluded in Kerala, Rajasthan, and Tripura.

The second phase saw polling for 20 seats in Kerala, 14 in Karnataka, 13 in Rajasthan, eight each in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, seven in Madhya Pradesh, five each in Assam and Bihar, three each in West Bengal and Chhattisgarh, and one each in Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, and Tripura. By 5 pm, an average turnout of 60.7 percent was recorded.

Originally, 89 constituencies were slated for voting in this phase. However, polling in Betul, Madhya Pradesh, was deferred following the demise of BSP candidate. Betul's electorate will now cast their votes in the third phase scheduled for May 7th.

Key candidates for this round

Prominent contenders in this electoral round include Rahul Gandhi and KC Venugopal from the Congress, alongside Bhupesh Baghel and Vaibhav Gehlot, son of Ashok Gehlot. On the BJP side, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar face off against Congress's Shashi Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram, while notable figures like actors Hema Malini and Arun Govil from the iconic 1980s serial Ramayan, senior BJP leader Tejasvi Surya, and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla also vie for positions.

Karnataka, Kerala stand out as pivotal battlegrounds

For both the BJP and the Opposition, Karnataka and Kerala stand out as pivotal battlegrounds in this phase. Despite the BJP's impressive performance in Karnataka in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress secured victory in the recent assembly polls. Analysts believe there would be a keen contest between the two parties.

Further south, the BJP aimed to disrupt Kerala's traditional bipolar politics. With hopes of making inroads, the party fielded Union ministers Rajiv Chandrasekhar and V Muraleedharan. Notably, in Wayanad, a Congress stronghold for over two decades, the BJP put forward its state unit president K Surendran to challenge Rahul Gandhi.

For the Opposition, Kerala represented a significant beacon of hope. Despite the Left and the Congress locking horns in the state, a victory for either would bolster the Opposition's standing nationwide. Kerala remains one of the few states yet to elect a BJP member to parliament.

BJP aims to extend its reach into the south 

With northern, western, and northeastern India largely covered, the BJP aims to extend its reach into the south and east in pursuit of reaching 370 seats. Having secured 303 seats in 2019, primarily from the Hindi heartland and various strongholds, including Gujarat and the northeast, the party sought to bolster its presence in new territories.

The Congress is asserting a significant improvement in performance compared to 2019, with their claims gaining momentum, particularly in Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh after the initial phase of the election. Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav is confident about winning all five seats in Bihar.

Standoff between between two main parties

The electoral landscape is marked by a contentious standoff between the Congress and the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remark about the Congress potentially redistributing personal wealth to "infiltrators" and seizing women's mangalsutras has ignited a heated debate. The Congress questions whether people had to worry about their wealth and cultural symbols during its 55-year rule, accusing the BJP of diverting attention from significant issues.

The upcoming phase of the election is scheduled for May 7, with vote counting set for June 4, three days after the final phase on June 1.

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