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In pictures: Preparations for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in full swing

Polling officials gear up with EVMs, security forces stand guard, and helicopters ferry personnel for a smooth start to the Lok Sabha elections across 21 states and Union territories

Our Web Desk Published 18.04.24, 04:01 PM
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A polling official checks Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) kept inside a strong room ahead of the first phase of voting for Lok Sabha elections, in Agartala. 102 Lok Sabha seats across 21 states and Union territories will go to polls in the first phase on April 19.

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Polling will be held in all seats of Tamil Nadu (39), Uttarakhand (5), Arunachal Pradesh (2), Meghalaya (2), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Puducherry (1), Sikkim (1) and Lakshadweep (1). Besides, there will be voting in 12 seats in Rajasthan, 8 in Uttar Pradesh, 6 in Madhya Pradesh, 5 seats each in Assam and Maharashtra, 4 in Bihar, 3 in West Bengal, 2 in Manipur, and one seat each in Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh.

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A polling official carries an Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and other election material at a distribution centre on the eve of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Nagpur. In Nagpur, a direct fight is on cards between Union minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari and Congress' Vikas Thakre. 

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Police personnel at a distribution centre before leaving for their respective polling stations ahead of the first phase of voting for Lok Sabha elections, in Agartala. “Central paramilitary forces will be deployed at all polling booths, while other forces will also be made available to ensure peace during the polling day. Webcasting will be made from all booths,”  Returning Officer of the Tripura West Parliamentary constituency Vishal Kumar said.

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Naxal-affected Bastar in Chhattisgarh will vote in the first phase, an exercise that will take place in the shadow of a major counter-insurgency operation in Kanker district in which 29 Maoists, including senior cadres, were gunned down by security forces. With tight security in place, authorities on April 16 kicked off an exercise to ferry polling personnel in helicopters in Chhattisgarh's Naxalite-hit Bastar Lok Sabha constituency, where voting will take place in the first phase of the elections on April 19.

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In Madhya Pradesh, nearly 1.12 crore electorates, including 57.02 lakh men, 55.66 lakh women and 184 third-gender individuals, are eligible to exercise their franchise during the first phase for which 13,570 polling booths have been set up. 

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Wilfred Syjemlieh, 24, a porter, carries Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) and Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) as he treks to reach a remote polling station, ahead of the first phase of the election, in Shillong in the northeastern state of Meghalaya.

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