The seven-phase Lok Sabha elections, one of the most bitterly fought in recent memory, will come to an end tomorrow. Voting will be held in 59 constituencies including in Varanasi where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to retain the seat.
Polling will be held in all 13 seats in Punjab and an equal number of seats in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight seats each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and the lone seat Chandigarh.
Over 10.01 crore voters are expected to decide the fate of 918 candidates. The Election Commission has set up more than 1.12 lakh polling stations for smooth conduct of polls.
Tomorrow, a bypoll will be held in Goa's capital Panaji, necessitated due to the death of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar in March. By-elections will also be held in four assembly constituencies of Tamil Nadu -- Sulur, Aravakurichi, Ottapidaram (SC) and Thiruparankundram.
In Uttar Pradesh, all eyes will be on Varanasi, where besides PM Modi, 25 other candidates are contesting. PM Modi's main opponents are Congress''s Ajay Rai and Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party grand alliance nominee Shalini Yadav.
Union minister Manoj Sinha, Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey are seeking re-election from Ghazipur and Chandauli, respectively.
The BJP is contesting 11 Lok Sabha seats in this phase, while its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) is contesting Mirzapur, currently held by Union minister Anupriya Patel, and Robertsganj.
In Punjab, Shirmani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife and union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal are among the 278 candidates. Actor turned politician Sunny Deol, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, Aam Aadmi Party's Punjab unit chief Bhagwant Mann are among other prominent candidates.
Besides Punjab, more than 6 lakh voters in the capital Chandigarh will choose between BJP candidate Kirron Kher and Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal.
On most of the 13 seats, the contest appears to be a direct fight between the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance.
In West Bengal, over 1 crore voters will decide the fate of 111 candidates in nine seats--Kolkata North and Kolkata South, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, Jaynagar (SC) and Mathurapur (SC).
The state has also been in focus after Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata ended in violence and vandalism of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's statue in a college.
In Bihar, four Union ministers: Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ram Kripal Yadav, RK Singh and Ashwini Kumar Choubey are among the 157 candidates in Bihar. Seven of these seats were won by the NDA last time, five by the BJP and two by the RLSP, which is now with the "Mahagathbandhan".
One was bagged by the JD(U) headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, which then fought separately but is now back with the NDA.
By-poll will also be held for the Dehri Assembly seat.
The most keenly-watched contest is in Patna Sahib where Ravi Shankar Prasad, one of the most prominent members of the Narendra Modi cabinet, is seeking entry into the Lok Sabha. He is pitted against Shatrughan Sinha - the actor-turned-politician, who won it on both occasions for the BJP and is now contesting as the Congress candidate.
The electoral fortunes of 42 candidates including that of former chief minister and Union minister Shibu Soren will be decided on Sunday in Jharkhand.
Elections will also be held in all four Lok Sabha constituencies in Himachal Pradesh where as many as 45 candidates are contesting.
The results of the national elections will be announced on May 23.
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