Polling will be held in 59 Lok Sabha constituencies in six states and one Union Territory in the sixth phase of the elections on Sunday. All seven constituencies in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, all 10 seats in Haryana, parts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal will vote in this phase.
As many as 979 candidates are in the fray this time, the government said in a press release on Thursday. Over 10.17 crore voters are eligible to vote at 1.13 lakh polling stations across the country on Sunday.
The first phase of polls was held on April 11 and had a voter turnout of over 69% while the second phase, conducted on April 18, recorded an overall voting percentage of 68%. The third phase on April 23 saw 66.04% of voters turning up while the fourth phase on April 29 recorded a voting percentage of 64%. The voter turnout in the fifth phase of polling was 62.56%.
The Lok Sabha elections for 543 seats are being held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19. The results will be announced on May 23.
All seven seats in the Union Territory – New Delhi, South Delhi, East Delhi, West Delhi, Chandni Chowk, North West Delhi and North East Delhi – vote today. The Bharatiya Janata Party had swept all seven seats in the 2014 General Elections.
All seats will have a triangular contest between the BJP, Aam Aadmi Party and Congress, after talks between the AAP and Congress for an alliance in the Capital failed. The AAP and Congress have blamed each other for this. Besides Delhi, AAP had wanted an alliance in Haryana and Punjab too, and even Rahul Gandhi’s offer of four seats in Delhi could not break the deadlock. But Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Friday claimed that Gandhi will be solely responsible if Modi returns to power after the Lok Sabha polls.
The contest in the East Delhi constituency has attracted the most controversy. The BJP has fielded former cricketer Gautam Gambhir, while AAP’s candidate is Atishi Marlena. The Congress has fielded Arvinder Singh Lovely, a former president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee.
Marlena had on Thursday accused Gambhir of circulating a derogatory pamphlet about her. However, Gambhir has denied this and filed a defamation case against Marlena, Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
In the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat, the BJP has fielded sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi against the Congress’ Ajay Maken and AAP’s Brijesh Goyal. Maken had resigned from his post as Delhi Congress chief in January.
Another important constituency is North East Delhi, where three-time Delhi Chief Minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit will face state BJP chief Manoj Tiwari. AAP’s Dilip Pandey is the third candidate here. Tiwari had attracted criticism in March for campaigning dressed in Army fatigues, less than a week after the Indian Air Force struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist camp in Balakot in Pakistan.
In West Delhi constituency, the BJP has fielded singer Hans Raj Hans, a new member of the party. Dalit MP Udit Raj, who was denied a ticket from the seat, quit the party earlier this month and joined the Congress.
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All 10 constituencies in Haryana will vote today. The BJP had won seven of these constituencies in 2014 and the Indian National Lok Dal had won two. The Congress hopes to increase its tally of one seat. These polls are important for both BJP and Congress ahead of the Assembly elections in the state later this year.
The AAP has a presence in Haryana and has tied up with the Jannayak Janta Party for the Lok Sabha polls. AAP is contesting from seven seats, while the Jannayak Janta Party has fielded candidates from the remaining three.
Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda is contesting from the Sonipat Lok Sabha seat against BJP’s Ramesh Chandra Kaushik.
Hooda’s son and three-time MP Deepinder Singh Hooda is standing from the Rohtak constituency against BJP’s Arvind Kumar Sharma. He had defeated BJP’s Om Prakash Dhankar in the 2014 polls from the same seat by over 1.7 lakh votes.
Dushyant Chautala, the grandson of Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala, is contesting on a Jannayak Janta Party ticket from Hisar. He is up against Bhavya Bishnoi of the Congress and Brijendra Singh of the BJP.
A family feud and the subsequent split in the Indian National Lok Dal has left the party weakened ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Om Prakash Chautala’s son Ajay Chautala had in November left the party. However, both father and son are serving jail terms for their role in a teachers’ recruitment scam.
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Eight Bihar constituencies will vote on Sunday. Twenty-four of 40 constituencies in Bihar had voted in the first five phases.
The BJP has formed an alliance with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party in the state. The Congress has tied up with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha Secular and Vikassheel Insaan Party in a “grand alliance”.
Rashtriya Lok Samta Party was an ally of the BJP before the polls, with its chief Upendra Kushwaha a minister in the Union government. However, Kushwaha quit the alliance in December and joined the Opposition combination, accusing the BJP of ignoring “real issues”.
In 2014, the BJP had won 22 of the state’s 40 seats, including seven of the eight seats that vote today. However, the saffron party is contesting only five of the eight seats this time, and 17 of Bihar’s 40 constituencies.
Union Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh is the BJP’s candidate from Purvi Champaran. He is up against Rashtriya Lok Samta Party’s Akash Kumar Singh. In 2014, he had defeated Binod Kumar Srivastava of the Rashtriya Janata Dal by 1,92,163 votes.
Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy is contesting from the Saran seat against Chandrika Rai of the Rashtriya Janata Dal. The BJP is looking to score a hat-trick from the Paschim Champaran, Purvi Champaran and Sheohar seats.
Voting will be held in eight constituencies in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday. These are Morena, Bhind, Gwalior, Guna, Sagar, Vidisha, Bhopal and Rajgarh. Of these, the Congress had won only in Guna in 2014, represented by Deputy Chief Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. Scindia had defeated BJP’s Harivallabh Shukla by 80,360 votes. The BJP had won the other seven seats.
Scindia is once again the Congress candidate from Guna and is expected to win by a comfortable margin against the BJP’s KP Yadav.
However, most eyes will be on the battle between the BJP’s Pragya Singh Thakur and Congress’ Digvijaya Singh, in Bhopal. Thakur, who is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, was inducted into the BJP last month. She has repeatedly courted controversy, first with her nomination and then by claiming that former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare died in the 2008 Mumbai attacks because she had cursed him. Thakur had also said that she was extremely proud of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and took part in the destruction.
Both Thakur and Singh have enlisted the help of priests to help them win the election. Singh is backed by state minister “Computer Baba”, among other religious leaders. Computer Baba, who resigned from the erstwhile BJP government in the state last year, was issued a notice by the Election Commission on Thursday, based on the saffron party’s complaint that he was fuelling communal tensions.
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Fourteen of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will vote on Sunday. As many as 177 candidates will contest in these seats, and over 2.5 crore voters can cast their ballot in 29,076 polling stations.
The BJP had won 12 of these 14 constituencies in 2014, while its ally Apna Dal had won one. Only one seat, Azamgarh, was won by the Samajwadi Party.
The BJP has maintained its alliance with the Apna Dal in 2019, while the Samajwadi Party has tied up with the Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal. The Congress is not part of the SP-BSP-RLD alliance. The Bahujan Samaj Party is contesting 11 out of these 14 seats, while the Samajwadi Party has fielded three candidates. The Congress has fielded nominees from 11 seats.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav will contest from the Azamgarh seat, which his father Mulayam Singh Yadav had won in 2014 by 60,304 votes.
Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati have held several joint rallies over the past few months, targeting the BJP and Narendra Modi. She has claimed that the prime minister is trying to create differences between the SP and BSP. However, Mayawati has also trained her guns on the Congress.
The Congress, for its part, has said that it has attempted to help the SP-BSP alliance by fielding strong candidates only in seats where it is likely to win. Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi also said that she would “rather die” than help the BJP win.
Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi is contesting on a BJP ticket from Sultanpur against Sanjay Sinh of the Congress and Chandra Bhadra Singh of the Bahujan Samaj Party. Her son Varun Gandhi had won from the constituency in 2014.
The Election Commission had banned Maneka Gandhi from campaigning for 48 hours last month after she said she would not work for Muslims if they do not vote for her. In Pilibhit, where Varun Gandhi is contesting, Maneka Gandhi told villagers that their villages would be graded A, B, C or D based on how many votes they cast for the BJP.
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Voting for four Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand will take place today. There are 67 candidates in the fray. Over 66.8 lakh voters will cast their ballot in 8,581 polling stations.
The BJP and the All Jharkhand Students Union have tied up in the state. The Congress has tied up with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
Cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad, who left the BJP to join the Congress last year, will contest from the Dhanbad seat. His opponent is BJP’s Pashupati Nath Singh, who has held the seat since 2009.
Polling will be held in eight seats in West Bengal on Sunday. Over 13.3 crore voters can vote at 15,428 polling stations. Eighty-three candidates are in the fray. The Trinamool Congress had won all eight of these seats in 2014.
Violence has marred all five previous phases of polling in West Bengal. Violence was reported from Birbhum district of West Bengal during phase four of the polls on April 29. Nine workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Trinamool Congress were injured. BJP candidate from Asansol Babul Supriyo’s car was vandalised during a clash between Trinamool Congress workers and security forces outside a polling booth.
Violence was reported in Rampurhat, Nalhati and Siuri areas of Birbhum constituency during polling. Villagers in Nanoor had said that Trinamool Congress workers were threatening them.
The BJP, which won four seats in the state in 2014, is looking to make further inroads there. Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is trying to hold on to the 34 seats it won in the state in 2014. Polls are being held in all seven phases in the state.
Election campaigning in West Bengal has been fierce and shrill. Banerjee and Modi have traded barbs at each other. On Thursday, Modi accused Banerjee of insulting the Constitution by refusing to accept him as the country’s prime minister. At a rally in Bankura, Modi also claimed that Trinamool Congress candidates were involved with the coal mafia. In response, Banerjee challenged the prime minister to prove his allegations or do 100 sit-ups.
On April 30, the Trinamool Congress had asked the poll panel to cancel Modi’s nomination from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh for claiming that 40 MLAs of the party are in touch with him, and will desert it after the results of the Lok Sabha elections are announced on May 23.
Dilip Ghosh, the state president of the BJP, will contest from Medinipur against the Trinamool Congress’ Manas Bhunia. Trinamool Congress MP Moon Moon Sen had successfully contested from Bankura in 2014, but has been fielded from Asansol this time.
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Here is a state-wise list of constituencies that will vote on May 12:
Delhi: Seven constituencies
- New Delhi
- West Delhi
- South Delhi
- East Delhi
- North East Delhi
- North West Delhi
- Chandni Chowk
Haryana: 10 constituencies
Bihar: Eight constituencies
- Valmiki Nagar
- Paschim Champaran
- Purva Champaran
Madhya Pradesh: Eight constituencies
Uttar Pradesh: 14 constituencies
- Ambedkar Nagar
- Sant Kabir Nagar
Jharkhand: Four constituencies
West Bengal: Eight constituencies