The fate of several important leaders including Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia will be decided in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections today, that will be held across 59 constituencies in six states. Delhi will also vote in the sixth phase.
Elections will be held across 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 seats in Haryana, eights constituencies each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, seven seats in Delhi and four in Jharkhand. Over 10 crore eligible voters will choose from among 979 candidates. The Election Commission has set up more than 1 lakh polling booths.
The sixth phase of elections is being seen as a big test for the BJP which had won 45 of these seats in 2014, with the Trinamool Congress bagging 8, the Congress winning 2 and the Samajwadi Party winning 1.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP had won 13 of the 14 constituencies in 2014, the only exception being Azamgarh, from where Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav won.However, the BJP had to face defeat in by-polls in Phulpur and Gorakhpur constituencies last year Gorakhpur was represented by Yogi Adityanath in Lok Sabha from 1998 to 2017, before he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
In Azamgarh this time, Akhilesh Yadav will try to retain his father's, contesting against Bhojpuri film star Dinesh Lal Yadav ''Nirahua'' from BJP.
Sultanpur too is seeing an interesting contest as the BJP has fielded Union minister Maneka Gandhi for the seat won by her son Varun in 2014.
The seats appears tricky for Maneka Gandhi as BJP strategists are relying on a division of Congress and gathbandhan votes, besides possible counter-polarisation of non-Yadav and non-Jatav Dalit and OBC votes.
Madhya Pradesh's capital Bhopal will see an interesting fight between senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh and BJP nominee Pragya Singh Thakur, who courted controversy for her comments about 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare.
Guna will seal the fate of Congress candidate Jyotiraditya Scindia.
In Delhi, voting will be held in all the seven seats. As many as 164 candidates are contesting, It is expected to be three-cornered fight involving the BJP, AAP and the Congress.
Prominent candidates include veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit, Boxer Vijender Singh, Union minister Harsh Vardhan, Atishi from AAP and her cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir.
Union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal Gurjar are among the 223 candidates in who will contest in Haryana.
Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, a sitting MLA of Congress from Rohtak district, will contest Sonipat. He has been a four-time MP from Rohak parliamentary constituency
The ruling Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Congress and the Left Front constituents - the CPI(M), the CPI and the AIFB - are the main contenders in West Bengal. In this phase, voting will also take place in Jangal Mahal - the forested region of Bankura, West Midnapore, Jhargram and Purulia districts, which used to be a Maoist hotbed, during the erstwhile Left Front government.
In Jharkhand, state minister Chandraprakash Choudhary, former cricketer Kirti Azad and ex-chief minister Madhu Koda's wife Gita are among the 67 candidates.
Polling will be held in Dhanbad, Giridih, Jamshedpur and Singhbhum (ST) seats, all won by the BJP in 2014.
Altogether, 66,85,401 voters, including 31,79,720 women and 116 of the third gender, are eligible to exercise their franchise.
Four sitting MPs, including Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, are among the 127 candidates contesting in Bihar.
Amid tight security, polling will be held in eight Lok Sabha seats - Sheohar, Valmiki Nagar, Pashchimi Champaran, Purvi Champaran, Siwan, Gopalganj, Maharajganj and Vaishali.
Among the 127 candidates, 16 are women - eight in Vaishali, four in Siwan and one each in Sheohar, Maharajganj, Purvi Champaran and Valmiki Nagar.