Polling will be held on Tuesday for the third and largest phase of Lok Sabha election in 116 seats, including all constituencies in Gujarat and Kerala, with BJP president Amit Shah, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and several Union ministers among prominent candidates in the fray.
The stakes are high for the ruling BJP and its allies as they bagged 66 seats out of these 116 spread across 14 states and Union Territories in 2014 general election, while the Congress and its alliance partners won 27, and the rest went to other opposition parties and Independents.
Besides all seats in Gujarat (26) and Kerala (20), voting will be held in four seats in Assam, five in Bihar, seven in Chhattisgarh, 14 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, six in Odisha, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, five in West Bengal, two in Goa, and one each in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Tripura.
The polling in Tripura East constituency, which was earlier scheduled for April 18, will be held in this phase, as also in a part of the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in Jammu and Kashmir, where the election is being held in three phases.
About 18.56 crore voters are eligible for voting in this phase and the Election Commission has set up 2.10 lakh polling booths/stations and has made elaborate security arrangements.
To discuss the key battles in the third phase of elections, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Rahul Verma, Fellow at Centre for Policy Research; Arun Giri election, analyst; Rajiv Pathak, Editor of News18 Gujarati and Pradeep Pillai, political editor of News18 Kerala.