Campaigning came to an end yesterday for 97 Lok Sabha constituencies spread over 13 states and Union Territories which will vote tomorrow in the second phase of the mega electoral exercise.
In Madurai, since the polling period is till 8pm due to the famous car festival tomorrow, campaigning in the constituency was allowed till 8pm yesterday.
The 48-hour period preceding the conclusion of voting is called the “silence period” during which any kind of political campaigning is prohibited.
As the silence period began, election rallies and street corner meetings ended in the 97 constituencies of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Tripura and Puducherry.
In the second phase, voting will take place in all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu. It will also cover 14 seats in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Bihar and Odisha, and three each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.
The electorate in five constituencies in Assam, two in Jammu and Kashmir, and one constituency each in Manipur, Tripura and Puducherry, would also cast their votes tomorrow.
The elections started on April 11 and will conclude on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.
In other news, Minister of State for Sports and Information and Broadcasting and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore offered prayers before filing his nomination papers for the Jaipur Rural seat yesterday.
He was accompanied by yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Rathore’s wife Gayatri, legislator Satish Punia, former lawmaker Rao Rajendra Singh and Rajya Sabha MP Kirorilal Meena.
Ramdev asked everyone to vote for Rathore. “I have come here to shower my blessings on Rathore. I strongly believe that the country is in safe hands when Narendra Modi is the prime minister. So let’s all ensure that the BJP sends its MPs to parliament to get a clear majority,” he said.
Rathore takes on Congress candidate Krishna Punia. Both candidates are sport stars and former Olympians, who have brought fame to the nation.
Rajasthan’s 25 constituencies go to the polls in two phases. The Jaipur Rural constituency votes in the fifth phase on May 6. The last date for filing of nominations is April 18. The nomination papers will be scrutinised on April 20 and names can be withdrawn until April 22.
Meanwhile, the ruling BJP in Himachal Pradesh yesterday asked the State Election Commission to register a criminal case against a Congress leader for issuing threats to BJP state chief Satpal Singh Satti.
A video showed the Congress worker announcing a “reward of Rs10 lakh to anyone who cuts off Satti’s tongue”, the BJP complained.
“It is shameful that the Congress is stooping this low and resorting to pressure tactics and even threatening bodily harm to the BJP leadership,” it said.
A day earlier, the Congress sought an apology from Satti for using derogatory remarks against Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his family.
In Hyderabad, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) sought Governor E S L Narasimhan’s intervention to prevent rising attacks on party cadres and demand more security for the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) alleging that the law and order situation was deteriorating in Andhra Pradesh.
YSRCP president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy met the governor and submitted a memorandum alleging that Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was misusing his office to target YSRCP cadres with false cases.
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