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2nd phase of general election concludes; nearly
2nd phase of general election concludes; nearly 66% voters exercise their franchise

NEW DELHI. Encouraging voter turnout in the second phase of Lok Sabha polls; record nearly 66% voters exercise their franchise in 11 states and one union territory; Puducherry and West Bengal record highest polling; barring sporadic instances of violence, polling largely peaceful.

Voting for 95 of the 543 seats across 11 states and 1 Union territory began at 7am. Apart from some sensitive polling booths, voting continued till 6pm. Those in queue after 6 were allowed to cast their vote.

Over 15 crore voters sealed the fate of around 1596 candidates in EVMs in this phase. States which voted for Phase 2 Lok Sabha Election are Assam, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Union Territory Puducherry.

Talking first of the South, in Tamil Nadu 38 out of 39 seats witnessed polling. Neighbouring Puducherry too polled in a single phase on Thursday.

Moving to Maharashtra and Karnataka, 10 out of 48 Parliamentary constituencies in the former and 14 out of 28 seats in the latter voted. In Karnataka key constituencies of Hassan, Mandya, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Bangalore South, and Bangalore Rural voted in the second phase.

And the key contests in Maharashtra in this phase were seen on Nanded seat with Former Cong CM Ashok Chavan taking on Govindrao of BJP and Former Congress Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde contesting from Solapur. The third contest in Marathwada was BJP stalwart Gopinath Munde's daughter and Sitting MP Pritam taking on NCP's Bajrang Sonwane.

Moving to Uttar pradesh, 8 seats out of 80 in Western UP voted on Thursday. Nearly 40 lakh voters sealed the fate of 87 candidates on these seats including Mathura from where cine star Hema Malini contested on a BJP ticket and Fatehpur Sikri where Congress fielded another bollywood star Raj Babbar.

Moving further East to Bihar, 5 out of 40 seats including Banka, Kishanganj, Katihar, Bhagalpur and Purnia voted. Enthusiasm of voters was visible across these seats.

In West Bengal, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Raiganj voted in the second phase. An incident of stone pelting on CPI(M) candidate from Raiganj Md Salim's car came to light when he was on his way to a polling booth in Uttar Dinajpur. Police fired in the air and lobbed tear gas shells to control a mob, after stones were pelted at them in Chopra in Raiganj.

3 Naxal affected seats in Chattisgarh Rajnandgaon, Mahasamund and Kanker voted amidst tight security on Thursday.

Two seats, Udhampur and Srinagar polled in phase two amidst tight security.

Odisha saw simultaneous polling for 5 Lok Sabha seats and 35 Assembly seats. The electoral fortunes of 279 candidates, including Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union minister Jual Oram, were locked in EVMs by nearly 77 Lakh voters in the second phase of voting.

And finally 5 out of 14 seats of Assam and one seat of Inner Manipur polled in the second phase. Voter enthusiasm was visible in both states.(UPDATED ON APRIL 18TH, 2019)