The first big chunk of Lok Sabha seats – 91 constituencies spread over 12 states and two union territories – enthusiastically went to the voting booths on Thursday by recording impressive polling percentage. The third phase of the 2014 elections sealed the fate of many candidates.
This phase was important to the BJP as it had no representation in the last Lok Sabha in states like Kerala, Delhi and Haryana.
Some of the key figures whose fate was decided include LS Speaker Meira Kumar, Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, former Union Minister Ajay Maken, Sandeep Dikshit, Pawan Bansal, NCP leader Praful Patel (Bhandara), seven-time Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar (Nagpur), AICC General Secretary Mukul Wasnik, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh, former Army Chief V K Singh (BJP), former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and Delhi BJP chief Dr Harsh Vardhan, and AAP’s Shazia Ilmi, Yogendra Yadav, Ashutosh and Rakhi Birla.
Among the states that went for polling were: Chhattisgarh (1), Haryana (10), J&K (1), Jharkhand (5), Kerala (20), Madhya Pradesh (9), Maharashtra (10), Odisha (10), Uttar Pradesh (10), Bihar (6), Delhi (7), Andaman and Nicobar islands (1), Chandigarh (1) and Lakshadweep (1). As many as 1,419 candidates are contesting for the 91 seats.
While, the polling was largely peaceful barring Bihar where suspected Maoist rebels killed two CRPF jawans and injured seven others when they were on their way to polling stations of Jamui constituency in Munger district.
As the brisk polling was recorded from several parts, several interesting nuggets brought colour to the poll day. In Jammu, where Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad went to cast his vote, he was asked by the polling officer to prove his identity as he was not carrying his voter card. It was only on the intervention of the state Congress leaders who stood guarantee that Azad was allowed to cast his vote.