Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Voting for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024 began on Friday across 102 parliamentary constituencies spread over 21 states and Union Territories as the mega seven-phase electoral exercise commenced at 7:00 am. Voters can exercise their franchise till 6:00 pm today.

As per the Election Commission of India (ECI), a total of 1.87 lakh polling stations have been set up while 18 lakh personnel have been deployed across the 102 constituencies going to the polls.

A total of 16.63 crore voters will vote in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls, deciding the fate of 1625 candidates with heavyweight leaders like Nitin Gadkari, Kiren Rijiju, Bhupendra Yadav, and Arjun Ram Meghwal among several Union Ministers in the fray. Among the contestants are ministers, senior leaders and multiple winners out to defend their territory.

Union Minister and BJP heavyweight Nitin Gadkari is fighting from Nagpur seat in Maharashtra. He is seeking a hat-trick of wins from the Nagpur seat.

BJP has fielded Jitin Prasada from Pilibhit constituency in Uttar Pradesh. The constituency holds immense significance in the electoral arena after BJP replaced Varun Gandhi with Prasada.

BJP candidate Tamilisai Soundararajan recently resigned as Telangana Governor and Lt Governor of Puducherry to return to active politics. She is the BJP’s candidate for the Chennai South Lok Sabha seat.

Sivaganga MP K Chidambaram is aiming for re-election from a seat his father won seven times. He is competing against BJP’s T Devanathan Yadav and AIADMK’s Xavier Dass.

BJP state president K Annamalai will lock horns against DMK leader Ganapathy P Rajkumar and AIADMK leader Singai Ramachandran in Coimbatore.

Daughter of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi Kanimozhi is contesting from Thoothkudi seat.

Tamil Nadu’s Chennai Central Lok Sabha seat will witness a fierce battle between the ruling DMK and BJP. The DMK has fielded incumbent MP Dayanidhi Maran who is seeking to retain the seat. Meanwhile, BJP has fielded Vinoj P Selvam. Chennai Central is considered a stronghold of the DMK.

Nakul Nath, son of Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, is seeking a re-election from Chhindwara.

Sitting MP and central minister Nisith Pramanik will take on Trinamool’s Jagadish Chandra Barma Basunia from Coochbehar Lok Sabha constituency.

The triangular race in Saharanpur, one of the most crucial Lok Sabha seats from Western Uttar Pradesh, will feature Imran Masood, the nominee of the Congress-SP alliance, Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and Majid Ali of the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP).