Election 2014: Polling in Seven States in Phase 8, uphill battle for Congress

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Election 2014: Polling in Seven States in Phase 8, uphill battle for Congress

Voters wait at a polling booth in Hajipur, Bihar.

New Delhi:  Voting is taking place in 64 seats across seven states in the eighth round of the staggered national election, which ends on May 12. (Elections: Full Coverage)

All of Seemandhra, the residuary state after the division of Andhra Pradesh to create Telangana, and parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal are voting today.

The Congress is seen to face an uphill task in today's seats, which include Rahul Gandhi's constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The party's main rival BJP, which currently has only five seats in today's round, has everything to gain if it improves its performance in the Hindi heartland spanning Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand. (Top 10 Contests in the Penultimate Phase of Election)

Besides Rahul Gandhi, other prominent candidates are his cousin Varun in Sultanpur, Union minister Beni Prasad Verma in Gonda, cricketer-turned-politician Mohammed Kaif in Phulpur, Ram Vilas Paswan in Hajipur and Rabri Devi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy in Saran, Bihar. (India on Course for Record General Election Turnout)

Himachal Pradesh has four parliamentary seats but is being keenly watched after a row over Narendra Modi using the quote of Kargil martyr Vikram Batra - "Yeh Dil Maange More" - in his rallies. Captain Batra's mother Kamal Kant Batra is contesting this election from Hamirpur, where she faces BJP MP Anurag Thakur.

Seemandhra, or the downsized Andhra Pradesh after the creation of Telangana, is voting for its first ever government besides 25 parliamentary seats. In the last two elections, the Congress' good performance in the state had contributed overwhelmingly to the making of the UPA government at the Centre. (For Seemandhra's High-Stakes Election, More (Money) is More)

But this time, voters are expected to punish the party for dividing Andhra Pradesh. People in Seemandhra believe carving out Telangana state will bring problems in resources like water and power.

Voting is also being held in seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar, 15 in UP, six in West Bengal, five in Uttarakhand and two in Jammu and Kashmir.

The staggered, nine-phase election began on April 7. The results will be announced on May 16.


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