Indian Parliament (Reuters)
Indian Parliament (Reuters)Reuters

Polling began on a brisk note in India's 121 constituencies spread across 12 states in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections on 17 April 2014.

More than 195 million voters are expected to cast their votes on Thursday. There are 1,762 candidates in the fray.

Polling was underway in one constituency each in Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, 28 in Karnataka, 20 in Rajasthan, 19 in Maharashtra, 11 each in Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, 10 in Madhya Pradesh, seven in Bihar, six in Jharkhand, four in West Bengal and three in Chhattisgarh.

Prominent candidates contesting the election are Nandan Nilekani of Congress, HN Ananatha Kumar of BJP,  former prime minister HD Deve Gowda of JD(S), Union Minister M Veerappa Moily of Congress, Maneka Gandhi of BJP, NCP chief Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule, Lalu Prasad's eldest daughter Misa Bahrti of RJD, B Sriramulu of BJP, Narayan Rane' son Nilesh Rane of Congress in Maharashtra, Union Minister Susheelkumar Shinde of Congress, former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa of BJP and former Maharashtra Chief Minister of Congress party Ashok Chavan.

In Karnataka, voting began at 7 am peacefully. More than 10 percent of voting was registered in the first two hours, according to reports. 

The state's capital Bangalore witnessed long queues at polling booths during the early hours. Candidates contesting the polls like co-founder of Infosys Nandan Nilekani, C Narayanswamy of Congress and Infosys former CFO V Balakrisnnan of AAP were among voters who casted their votes in the early hours.

Meanwhile, in Andhra Pradesh, speculation was rife that cadre in Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was bringing pressure on the party chief Chandrababu Naidu to cancel the pre-poll alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Seemandhra region.

Naidu is said to be in parleys with BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi on the issue.

BJP and TDP have got into a pre-poll tie-up in both Seemandhra and Telangana of AP in this general election. However, TDP cadre at lower-rung has been opposing the alliance with BJP in Seemandhra, as the regional party is very strong in the area when compared to BJP, say media reports.  

(Ed: AJ)