Eight seats of western Uttar Pradesh will go the polls in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on Thursday with BJP facing a tough contest in all the seats due to the alliance of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal. The Congress is also seeking to put up a good show and is likely to cut into votes of both the BJP and the combined alliance.
A total of around 1.5 crore voters from Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddha Nagar -- all in the western Uttar Pradesh will vote in the first of the seven phases in less than 24 hours.
They are almost 10.45 per cent of the total over 14 crore voters who will poll for all the 80 Lok Sabha seats from the state.
The first phase of Uttar Pradesh polling is crucial as any polarisation in the western part -- as seen during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections -- may help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) get an impressive tally.
Three Union Ministers -- Gen VK Singh (Ghaziabad), Satyapal Singh (Baghpat) and Mahesh Sharma (Gautam Buddha Nagar) are in the fray as is Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh (Muzaffarnagar) and his son Jayant Chaudhary (Bagpat).
Here's a look at eight constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.
Muzaffarnagar: Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh, a candidate of the SP-BSP-RLD alliance, is pitted against former Union minister Sanjiv Balyan in Muzaffarnagar, where Muslim voters dominate in all five assembly segments of this Lok Sabha seat. There are approximately 17 lakh voters, among whom Muslims constitute over 26 per cent followed by 15 per cent Jatavs and around eight per cent Jats.
The people of the region are of the opinion that it is not going be a cakewalk for any of the two leaders.
Ghaziabad: Union Minister VK Singh, who is seeking his re-election, is locked in a triangular contest with Suresh Bansal, the candidate of the SP-RLD-BSP coalition and Congress nominee Dolly Sharma, a young professional with a political lineage.
Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida): The fate of Union Minister Mahesh Sharma is at stake here in a triangular contest. The Congress has fielded Arvind Kumar Singh, while the BSP's Satveer is the joint candidate of the SP-BSP-RLD alliance.
Bagpat: Union Minister Satyapal Singh is seeking re-election from this Jat dominated constituency. RLD leader Ajit Singh's son Jayant Chaudhary is contesting against him as the joint SP-BSP-RLD candidate.
Saharanpur: The BJP has repeated its outgoing MP Raghav Lakhanpal, while the Congress has fielded Imran Masood who had put up a strong fight in 2014, when he lost to Lakhanpal by about 65,000 votes.
The eight constituencies have 1,50,65,682 electors including 82,24,835 men and 68,39,833 women electors. Of these eight seats, Ghaziabad is the largest parliamentary constituency with 26,56,779 electors and Baghpat is the smallest one with 1,592,297 electors.
The data sourced from ECI website shows that in previous General Election of 2014, there were a total of 1,39,04,381 electors in these eight parliamentary constituencies. This means an increase of 11,61,301 (8.35 per cent) electors since then.