Voting has begun in 117 parliamentary constituencies across 13 states and two Union Territorries in what is the biggest of the seven phase general election schedule for 2019.
In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finished ahead of the Congress in the seats which went to polls in the first and second phase, but was behind non-Congress, non-BJP parties. Parliamentary constituencies which will go to polls in each phase beginning today saw the BJP winning a majority in the 2014 elections. Of the 117 seats, the BJP won 62 and the NDA, 67, in 2014.
Of the 117, polling in one seat in Tripura was deferred from an earlier phase and polling in Anantnag, Jammu & Kashmir, will happen in three phases starting with the third one.
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Tuesday’s polling will also mark an end to the electoral battle in southern India. With polling already complete in Tamil Nadu (except Vellore), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 20 seats in Kerala and the remaining 14 in Karnataka will go to polls on Tuesday.
Both states are important from the ruling BJP’s point of view. It is looking to make an impact and probably open its account in Kerala, hoping to exploit the widespread protests against the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of menstruating age at the Sabarimala shrine. In 2014, the BJP won 11 out of the 14 PCs which go to polls in Karnataka (it won six of the 14 that went to polls in the second phase).