- 95 Lok Sabha seats in 11 states and Puducherry are voting in second phase
- Four Union Ministers, ex-PM HD Deve Gowda, Hema Malini among contestants
- Polling in 38 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu
Here are the top 10 updates on Phase 2 of Lok Sabha Election 2019:
In Bengal, where polling was being held in three seats, stones were thrown at the car of CPM candidate Mohammad Salim, as he was on way to cast his vote in Raigunj constituency. In two of the three constituencies, the police used batons and tear gas on voters, who had blocked two national highways, claiming they were not allowed to vote.
In Tripura's Khowai district, Congress's Lok Sabha candidate and erstwhile royal Pragya Dev Burman came under attack. Stones were thrown at her convoy, for which a supporter of the ruling IPFT has been arrested. The area is part of the Tripura East constituency, where election was postponed in view of the security situation.
Complaints of faulty voting machines came from several states, including Assam, Maharashtra and Karnataka. In Tamil Nadu, as many as 384 faulty Electronic Voting machines and 692 faulty Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail machines were replaced, officers of the state election commission said.
In Jammu and Kashmir, clashes broke out between security forces and stone pelters who tried to disrupt polling in Batmaloo area of Srinagar city, Pandach area of Ganderbal district and at four other places in Budgam district -- areas under the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency. Clashes also took place after the polling, in which a civilian and four policemen, including two officers, were injured.
Besides the 38 Lok Sabha seats of Tamil Nadu, polling was held on in 14 seats in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, three each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one seat each in Manipur and Puducherry.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and a number of Union ministers campaigned heavily for this phase, which saw many controversial speeches. Four top faces, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union minister Maneka Gandhi, BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party candidate Azam Khan, were temporarily banned from campaigning.
The by-elections in Tamil Nadu will decide the fate of the AIADMK government led by E Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam. The 234-member assembly has 22 vacancies, 18 of them due to disqualification of rebel lawmakers who joined the team of TTV Dhinakaran last year. The AIADMK, which has 114 seats including the Speaker, needs five seats to retain majority.
Thursday's VIP candidates were Union ministers Jitendra Singh, Jual Oram, Sadananda Gowda and Pon Radhakrishnan. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and former ministers Dayanidhi Maran and A Raja, and DMK leader Kanimozhi are also among Thursday's candidates. Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini was the star candidate from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.
Lok Sabha and assembly elections are being held simultaneously in Odisha in four phases. Thursday's contestants included Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, who is seeking a fifth term. He contested from his home turf Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in Bargarh.
Tamil Nadu witnessed multiple raids over the last weeks, in which nearly Rs. 500 crore in cash and gold has been seized. On Wednesday, unaccounted cash worth Rs. 1.48 crore was seized during raids on a party colleague of TTV Dhinakaran. Mr Dhinakaran broke away from the ruling AIADMK last year to form his own party, the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam.