There were complaints of faulty voting machines in many states, big stakes in Tamil Nadu !

NEW DELHI: Millions across India queued up this morning to vote in the second phase of the gigantic Lok Sabha elections. The round was preceded by multiple raids involving huge amounts of cash allegedly meant to bribe voters in Tamil Nadu, where voting has been cancelled in one of the 39 Lok Sabha seats. The state is also voting for by-polls in 18 assembly seats. State elections are also being held in Odisha. 95 Lok Sabha seats across 11 states and one in the Union Territory of Puducherry are voting in this round, which features four union ministers and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda. There were complaints of faulty voting machines in Assam, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The counting of votes for the seven-phase election, which ends on May 19, will be held on May 23.

Here are the top updates on Phase 2 of Lok Sabha Election 2019:
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.

Tamil Nadu, polling is 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 mainly West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one seat each in Manipur and Puducherry.

By-elections on the 18 assembly seats 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 have joined the team of TTV Dhinakaran. The AIADMK, which has 114 seats including the Speaker, needs 5 seats to retain majority.

Among the VIP candidates up for election today are 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 today’s candidates. Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini is the star candidate from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.

Mainly lok Sabha and assembly elections are being held simultaneously in Odisha in four phases. Among today’s contestants are Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, who is seeking a fifth term. He is contesting from his home turf Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in Bargarh.

Polling in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore seat was cancelled after the recovery of a huge amount of cash from alleged associates of DMK candidate Kathir Anand, the son of DMK treasurer Durai Murugan. On March 30, tax officials seized Rs. 10.5 lakh from Durai Murugan’s residence. So, two days later, they claimed to have seized Rs. 11.53 crore from a godown belonging to an associate of the leader.

Polling in one seat of Tripura has been postponed because of security concerns. The Election Commission said the law and order situation was not satisfactory enough to conduct elections.

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.

Tax officials’ Tuesday’s visit to the house of DMK leader Kanimozhi triggered a huge controversy when no cash was found and the department admitted that it had received a wrong tip-off. Later, it was alleged that the officials violated the rules by failing to keep the Election Commission in the loop. The department said it had informed the Chief Election Commissioner.

On Wednesday, despite strengthened security, Maoists gunned down a polling officer in Kandhamal district of Odisha when she was leading a team of poll personnel to a booth in Phulbani assembly segment.

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