Voting for the 91 Lok Sabha seats spread across 18 states and two union territories in the first phase has begun. Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Kiren Rijiju and VK Singh are among the high-profile candidates who are seeking a re-entry to the Lok Sabha, through this phase.
The first phase covers all the Lok Sabha constituencies in Andhra Pradesh (25), Telangana (17), Uttarakhand (5), two seats each of Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Meghalaya and one seat each of Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Andaman and Nicobar as well as Lakshadweep. A part from the eight seats in Uttar Pradesh – which votes in all the phases of the seven-phased election, four out of 40 seats of Bihar and two out of 42 seats of West Bengal will also be covered in the phase.
In UP, the BJP is facing an alliance of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal. The Congress is also seeking to put up a good show in the state that sends the maximum number of parliamentarians to the lower house. While voting takes place in western UP, UPA chairperson and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi will be in the central part of the state, in Rae Bareli, to file her nomination papers for the Lok Sabha seat, which will head for voting in the fifth-phase on May 6.