New Delhi (India), Apr 23 (ANI): Polling began on Tuesday in 116 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 13 states and 2 Union Territories in the third phase of ongoing elections.All 26 constituencies in Gujarat, all 20 seats in Kerala, 14 each in Maharashtra and Karnataka, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, seven in Chhattisgarh, six in Odisha, five each in Bihar and West Bengal, four in Assam, two in Goa, one each in Jammu and Kashmir, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Tripura are witnessing polling in the third phase.
In Uttar Pradesh, polling is underway at Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Badaun, Aonla, Bareilly and Pilibhit. 120 candidates, including 14 women, are in the fray for 10 seats in the state. Around 1.76 crore people are expected to cast their vote.
In Gujarat, polling has begun for all 26 Lok Sabha constituencies and four Assembly seats.Besides Gandhinagar, polling is being held in Kachchh, Banaskantha, Patan, Mahesana, Sabarkantha, Ahmedabad East, Ahmedabad West, Surendranagar, Rajkot, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Anand, Kheda, Panchmahal, Dahod, Vadodara, Chhota Udaipur, Bharuch, Bardoli, Surat, Navsari and Valsad.
Among the top contenders who are battling it out in today's polls are Congress president Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad (Kerala), BJP president Amit Shah from Gandhinagar (Gujarat), BJP's Jaya Prada and SP's Azam Khan from Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav from Mainpuri (Uttar Pradesh), Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) president Sharad Yadav from Madhepura (Bihar), Congress leader Shashi Tharoor from Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), Congress' Ghulam Ahmad Mir and PDP's Mehbooba Mufti from Anantnag (Jammu and Kashmir) and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra from Puri (Odisha) among others.
In Kerala, as many as 227 candidates are in fray contesting on all the 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Wayanad is considered the main focus as Rahul Gandhi is contesting from this seat for the first time. He is in the fray with 19 other candidates. Besides Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, elections are underway in Kasaragod, Kannur, Kollam, Attingal, Thiruvananthapuram, Vadakara, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Ponnani, Palakkad, Alanthur, Thrissur, Chalakudy, Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Mavelikkara and Pathanamthitta.
In Chhattisgarh, 123 candidates are testing their electoral fortunes from seven Lok Sabha constituencies - Raipur, Raigarh, Surguja, Janjgir-Champa, Korba, Bilaspur and Durg.
While in Bihar, Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Araria, Madhepura and Khagaria Lok Sabha constituencies are voting.
Mehbooba, who won from Anantnag seat in Jammu and Kashmir last elections, is eyeing another win this time. She is facing Congress' Ghulam Ahmad Mir and National Conference's new entrant Hasnain Masoodi.
In Maharashtra, the fate of as many as 249 candidates is at stake on 14 Lok Sabha seats. BJP is contesting in the state in alliance with Shiv Sena, while they face a tough battle from Congress and Sharad Pawar-led NCP. Among the Lok Sabha constituencies polling during the third phase are Jalgaon, Raver, Jalna, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Madha, Sangli, Raigad, Pune, Baramati, Satara, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Kolhapur and Hatkanangle.
In Karnataka, meanwhile, polling has begun for 14 Lok Sabha seats, including Chikkodi, Bidar, Koppal, Bellary, Haveri, Dharwad, Uttara Kannada, Davanagere, Shimoga, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gulbarga and Raichur. Over 2.43 crore voters are eligible to cast their vote in this phase in the state.
In Odisha, six Lok Sabha seats and 42 assembly constituencies are polling in this phase. Lok Sabha seats are Sambalpur, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Puri and Bhubaneswar.
West Bengal is voting for five Lok Sabha constituencies in the third phase. These include Balurghat, Maldaha Uttar, Maldaha Dakshin, Jangipur and Murshidabad.
In Assam, 74 lakh voters will decide the fate of 54 candidates in the third phase, which covers Guwahati, Barpeta, Dhubri and Kokrajhar parliamentary constituencies.
Polling on two Lok Sabha constituencies and by-polls in three Assembly seats are being held in the third phase in Goa. Twelve candidates are in the fray for the two Lok Sabha constituencies, North Goa and South Goa.
Polling is also underway at East Tripura constituency. Polling in East Tripura constituency was deferred from April 18 to April 23 by Election Commission based on inputs that law and order in the constituency was not conducive to the holding of a free and fair poll earlier.
Besides these states, polling is also being held in one seat each in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The seven-phase Lok Sabha election started on April 11. The first phase witnessed 69.45 voter turnout across the country while the election for the second phase was held on April 18 and witnessed 69.43 per cent voter turnout.
The results will be announced on May 23. (ANI)