Amid the hype and din, campaign for 91 Lok Sabha seats ends

AM Jigeesh/M Somasekhar New Delhi/Hyderabad | Updated on April 09, 2019

Workers removing mic sets of a campaign vehicle and pack up as the election campaign for assembly and parliamentary constituencies ended across the state, in Vijayawada on Tuesday. Photo: V Raju   -  The Hindu

First phase of polls to be held on April 11

After a fortnight of high-decibel electioneering marked by release of manifestos that were loaded with competitively populist schemes, campaigning for the first phase of the general elections came to an end on Tuesday.

Though the campaign was largely peaceful, Naxalites attacked a convoy in Dantewada district of Chattisgarh on Tuesday, killing BJP MLA from the State Bheema Mandavi and four security personnel.

In the first of the seven-phased electoral exercise, touted to be the world’s biggest, polling will be held in 91 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 20 States and Union Territories on April 11. The important States that go to polls in this phase are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.

Simultaneously, elections for the legislative assemblies will be held in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha (28/147) on the same day. Till the end of polling, the ban on public meetings, all sorts of election-related processions, media advertisements and promotions will continue.

While the BJP’s campaign focused on national security, tensions between India and Pakistan and populist schemes — with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah leading the charge — the Congress came up with the NYAY scheme, promising ₹72,000 per family/year. The latter also harped on jobs, the Rafale fighter jet deal and the government’s “failures”.

In the North-East, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, regional issues also found resonance.

The battle was fought as aggressively on the cyber space as it was across these constituencies, with parties making full use of the social media, YouTube and other digital platforms.

Published on April 09, 2019

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