Voting was largely smooth in the first three hours of polling in phase three, the biggest of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections for 117 parliamentary constituencies across 13 states and two Union Territories.
As polling is underway in Kerala, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor alleged that the EVMs in the state were rigged as they were only registering votes cast for the BJP. Further, the Congress leader also hoped that his concerns would be duly noted by the Election Commission.
Glitches in EVMs in some polling booths have been reported in the initial hours of voting in Cherthala in Alappuzha district and Kovalam in the state capital of Kerala. However, Thiruvananthapuram district collector K Vasuki dismissed reports of glitches in the machine in Kovalam and said it was ensured that it was error-free and the polling was continuing.
Todays polling will also mark an end to the electoral battle in southern India. With polling already complete in Tamil Nadu (except Vellore), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 20 seats in Kerala and the remaining 14 in Karnataka ‘s going polls today.
Voting will be completed in all seats of Gujarat, Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Karnataka, Kerala, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu with the third phase polls.
The presidents of the two main political parties are in the fray in the third phase with BJP chief Amit Shah making his Lok Sabha election debut from Gandhinagar and Congress President Rahul Gandhi contesting from Wayanad.
This time the BJP will be tested in its bastion Gujarat — where polling will be held for all the 26 Lok Sabha seats — apart from Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh, where the party had done well in 2014
Queen Ojha, Shashi Tharoor, Amit Shah, Supriya Sule, Varun Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi Mulayam Singh Yadav, Azam Khan are among the key candidates in the fray.