A total of 59 seats in the seven states of Uttar Pradesh (14 seats), Madhya Pradesh (8 seats), West Bengal (8 seats), Jharkhand (4 seats), Haryana (10 seats), Bihar (8 seats) and the national capital territory of Delhi (7 seats) will go to polls on Sunday in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections.
The campaigning, which came to an end on Friday, saw charges flying thick and fast between rival political parties. Over the past week, PM Modi has labelled several allegations against Rajiv Gandhi, from calling him “bhrashtachari No. 1” to accusing the former PM of using INS Viraat for his “personal holiday trips”.
Despite counters by Congress, the charge against BJP was led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who upped the ante by asserting that she does not consider Modi as prime minister and saying that he deserved a “slap of democracy”.
Triangular contest in the national capital
In Delhi, the run-up to the elections has been quite dramatic. From the breakdown of Congress-AAP alliance talks to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal getting slapped to AAP’s East Delhi candidate Atishi breaking down during a press conference over “derogatory pamphlets” to BJP’s Udit Raj leaving the party and joining the Congress, the past two months has been nothing short of a potboiler.
In the last Lok Sabha elections, BJP had won 45 of these seats, the Trinamool Congress 8, the Congress two and the Samajwadi Party and the LJP one seat each.
Prominent candidates in the sixth phase include senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit, boxer Vijender Singh, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir and Atishi from AAP.
Maneka Gandhi, Varun in fray from Uttar Pradesh
Talking of Uttar Pradesh, the big guns who will be at the mercy of the ballot include Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, who is contesting from Azamgarh, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi from Pilibhit and Varun Gandhi from Sultanpur.
Of the 14 constituencies going to polls in Uttar Pradesh, BJP had won 13 in 2014, with Azamgarh being the only exception. SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav won from Azamgarh by a huge margin of 3,40,306 votes.
In Haryana, Union ministers Krishan Pal Gurjar and Rao Inderjit Singh are attempting to get re-elected while former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is in the fray from Sonepat, where he faces JJP candidate Digvijay Chautala and BJP’s sitting MP Ramesh Kaushik.
TMC made clean sweep of all 8 seats in 2014 elections
In West Bengal, elections will be held in Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram (ST), Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur (SC), where a total electorate of 1,33,69,749 will decide the fate of 83 candidates. All these seats were won by the TMC in 2014 Lok Sabha Elections.
Polls will also take place in Jangalmahal – the forested region of Bankura, West Midnapore, Jhargram and Purulia districts, which once used to be a Maoist hotbed during the CPI(M) in West Bengal.
In Jharkhand, a total 66,85,401 voters of Giridih, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur and Singhbhum (ST) constituencies will decide the fate of 67 candidates in Sunday’s election. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress are part of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) in Jharkhand. Polling for the first two phases in the state was held on April 29 and May 6.
Will NDA hold on to all eight seats in Bihar
Eight seats in Bihar will go to vote in the sixth phase. All of these seats were secured by the BJP-led NDA in 2014. While Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janta Party (LJP) holds the Vaishali seat, the remaining were won by the BJP, which has given up Valmiki Nagar and Siwan in favour of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and fielded its sitting MPs from their respective seats.
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh will also be contesting in this phase. He is serving his fifth term as the Lok Sabha MP from Purvi Champaran, earlier known as Motihari.
Pragya Thakur vs Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal
Coming to Madhya Pradesh, eight seats will go to polls on Sunday. Bhopal constituency will see a riveting contest between BJP’s Pragya Singh Thakur and Congress veteran Digvijay Singh.
While Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia is seeking re-election from Guna, Union Minister Narendra Tomar, sitting MP from Gwalior, is seeking election from Morena Lok Sabha seat. While seven of these seats were won by the BJP in 2014, the Guna constituency was won by the Congress.