NEW DELHI: Fifty-nine seats across seven states will go to polls in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha election 2019 on Sunday, amid unprecedented security arrangements put in place by the Election Commission (EC). Voting in phase 6 will be held in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 in Haryana, 9 in Bihar, 8 each in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, all seven seats in Delhi and 4 in Jharkhand.
Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and BJP's controversial Bhopal candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur are among the 968 candidates in the fray. High-octane campaign for the sixth and penultimate phase of the Lok Sabha election came to an end on Friday.
Here is a look at the states/UT which will vote in the sixth phase of polls:
Voting in seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi will be held on Sunday. The seats are Chandni Chowk, North East Delhi, East Delhi, New Delhi, North West Delhi, West Delhi, and South Delhi. High-pitched poll campaigning in Delhi came to an end on Friday. The campaigning witnessed an attack on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, acrimonious exchanges between the AAP and the BJP over allegations of horse-trading, rivals jabbing at one another over alleged discrepancies in affidavits and even a candidate of the ruling party in Delhi breaking down in a press conference.
As many as 164 candidates, including 18 women, are in the fray. It is expected to be a three-cornered fight involving the BJP, AAP and the Congress in the seven parliamentary seats of the national capital all of which were won by the saffron party in 2014.
Prominent candidates in the fray include veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit, Olympian boxer Vijender Singh, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, Atishi from AAP and her BJP rival cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir.
Voting will begin at 7 AM and is scheduled to go on till 6 PM. A total of 13,819 polling stations will be set up at 2,700 locations in Delhi, with one model polling station in each of the 70 assembly segments. Seventeen polling stations will be staffed only by women.
The campaign, which initially got off to a slow start as alliance talks between the AAP and Congress lingered on till the last days of nomination, gained momentum over the last fortnight with senior leaders drawing huge crowds at mega rallies and road shows in the national capital.
It reached a crescendo in its last lap with Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a massive rally at the iconic Ramlila Maidan here, Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing two public meetings, while his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra taking out two road shows in the city. The campaign also saw cine stars - Hema Malini, Sunny Deol, Prakash Raj, Swara Bhaskar - garnering support for the candidates. While the BJP's campaign revolved around the party's high-pitched nationalism narrative and the popularity of PM Modi, the Congress kept him in the crosshairs and sought to hard sell its minimum income guarantee scheme – Nyay.
The AAP, on the other hand, focussed on its demand for full statehood for Delhi.
Voting in eight Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar will be held on Sunday. Seats in which elections will be held on Sunday are - Valmiki Nagar, Paschim Champaran, Purvi Champaran, Sheohar, Vaishali, Gopalganj, Siwan, and Maharajganj. The campaigning for the eight Lok Sabha seats in Bihar going to the polls in the penultimate phase on May 12 ended peacefully on Friday.
Out of the 40 parliamentary constituencies in the state, 24 had voted in the previous phases of Lok Sabha polls, while the remaining eight will vote in the seventh and final phase on May 19. More than 1.38 lakh voters will decide the fate of 127 candidates in the sixth phase of polling.
The nearly three-week-long canvassing saw top leaders from the BJP-JD(U)-LJP combine and those from the opposition Grand Alliance comprising RJD, Congress, RLSP, HAM and VIP campaign in the state. The Left parties and the BSP too hit the campaign trail. The sixth phase of polling will see direct contests between the NDA allies and the opposition Grand Alliance, except in Siwan and East Champaran, which will witness a triangular fight involving the Left party candidates.
The prominent candidates in the fray include Union Minister and BJP leader Radha Mohan Singh (East Champaran), former Union Minister and RJD candidate Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (Vaishali), jailed former MP Mohammad Shahabuddin`s wife Hina Sahab of the RJD (Siwan) and BJP`s Rama Devi, who`s aiming for a hat-trick win from Sheohar.
In UP, polling will be held Sunday in Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkarnagar, Shrawasti, Domariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabirnagar, Lalganj, Jaunpur, Machchlishahr, Bhadohi and Azamgarh constituencies. Hectic electioneering in the state ended on Friday evening for the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.
For the BJP, campaigning peaked on Thursday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed three back-to-back rallies in Azamgarh, Jaunpur and Allahabad. The same day, party president Amit Shah made his presence felt at four other meetings. The Prime Minister had also addressed two rallies in Pratapgarh and Basti last Saturday.
The opposition alliance in the state also focused on the Purvanchal region in the last few days. SP's Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati and Rashtriya Lok Dal's Ajit Singh held a series of election meetings. For the Congress, its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi led the campaigning, holding meetings and roadshows in Pratapgarh, Siddharthnagar and Sant Kabirnagar over the last few days.
The Bharatiya Janata Party won 13 of these 14 constituencies in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The only exception was Azamgarh, won then by SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav. The BJP had swept the 2014 polls winning 71 of the total 80 seats in the state, with two others being won by ally Apna Dal (Sonelal). The Congress won two and the SP five.
In Azamgarh this time, Akhilesh Yadav is trying to retain his father's seat against Bhojpuri film star Dinesh Lal Yadav `Nirahua' of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Nirahua was honoured by the previous SP government led by Akhilesh Yadav with the state's Yash Bharti award. Sultanpur too is seeing an interesting contest. The BJP has fielded Union minister Maneka Gandhi for the seat won by her son Varun Gandhi in 2014. She faces Sanjay Singh of the Congress. Altogether, 177 candidates are contesting in these 14 constituencies, where 2.53 crore people are eligible to vote across 16,998 polling centres.
Voting in ten Lok Sabha constituencies in Haryana will be held on Sunday. Seats in which elections will be held are - Ambala, Kurukshetra, Sirsa, Hissar, Karnal, Sonipat, Rohtak, BhiwaniMahendragarh, Gurgaon, Faridabad. Campaigning ended here on Friday. In Haryana, two Union Ministers are seeking re-election and a former chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, is trying to make it to the Lower House.
The high-voltage electioneering for the May 12 polls saw the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress field a galaxy of stars. PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah campaigned in the state even on the last day of electioneering.
PM Modi addressed a rally in Rohtak, considered a stronghold of the Hooda family, where he brought up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari have also visited the state where voting will take place over all seats in a single phase. Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini too dropped in for the BJP.
For the Congress, party president Rahul Gandhi, general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu pitched in. Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal campaigned for the Jannayak Janata Party-AAP alliance candidates while Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati sought votes for her party and its ally Loktantra Suraksha Party.
The JJP is contesting on seven seats and the AAP three. The BSP is fighting on eight, leaving two for its ally LSP. Indian National Lok Dal, going through a rough patch after the party split last year due to a feud in the Chautala family which led to the birth of JJP, is contesting on all 10 seats.
Among the prominent BJP candidates in the fray are Union Ministers Rao Inderjit Singh, who is seeking re-election from Gurgaon, and Krishan Pal Gurjar, who is fighting to represent Faridabad again.
Union Minister Birender Singh's son Brijendra Singh (BJP) and former chief minister Bhajan Lal's grandson Bhavya Bishnoi (Congress), both political greenhorns, are contesting from the Hisar Lok Sabha seat. They face Dushyant Chautala, the sitting MP and leader of the newly floated JJP.
The opposition Congress has fielded its stalwarts on several seats. Bhupinder Hooda, who is a sitting MLA from Garhi Sampla-Kiloi in Rohtak district, has entered the fray from Sonipat. Former Union minister Kumari Selja and state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar are fighting from Ambala and Sirsa, respectively, for the party.
In the 2014 parliamentary poll, the BJP contested eight seats and won seven. Its then ally Haryana Janhit Congress had then fought on two seats, losing both. The INLD won two seats and the Congress bagged one last time. The Congress has re-nominated its Rohtak sitting MP Deepender Singh Hooda, son of Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The BJP has retained five of its seven sitting MPs. It replaced its Karnal MP Ashwini Chopra with Sanjay Bhatia.
In Kurukshetra, the ruling party nominated Haryana minister Nayab Singh Saini after the party's sitting MP from there Raj Kumar Saini turned rebel and floated his own outfit LSP. Over 1.80 crore people are eligible to vote in the state. Of them, 97,16,516 are male, 83,40,173 female and 207 transgender. Altogether, 223 candidates are in the fray. Just 11 of them are women.
Voting in eight Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal will be held on Sunday. Seats in which elections will be held on Sunday are Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram (ST), Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur (SC), where an electorate of 1,33,69,749 will decide the fate of 83 candidates. The high-pitched campaigning came to an end Friday evening. The EC has decided to deploy a total 770 companies of central forces, which will cover almost 100 per cent polling booths in the eight constituencies to ensure free and fair polling, officials in the poll panel said.
All the eight seats spread across the four Jangal Mahal districts and East Midnapore will see mostly a four-cornered contest between Trinamool Congress, BJP, Congress and the Left Front. Only Bankura seat will have a triangular fight since Congress did not put up any candidate there.
The campaign saw poll meetings by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congres supremo Mamata Banerjee and her Andhra Pradesh counterpart N Chandrababu Naidu. Banerjee also participated in a number of roadshows.
In Tamluk seat, BJP fielded Siddhartha Shankar Naskar against sitting TMC MP Dibyendu Adhikari. The Left Front constituent CPI(M) has nominated Sk Ibrahim Ali, while the Congress has nominated Lakshman Seth, who was earlier in CPI(M). In Kanthi, the TMC MP Sisir Adhikari is contesting against BJP's Dr Debasis Samanta. The Congress has nominated Deepak Kumar Das and CPI(M) Paritosh Pattanayak.
Ghatal Lok Sabha seat will see TMC's sitting celebrity candidate Deepak Adhikari (Dev) locking horns with BJP's Bharati Ghosh, a former IPS officer. Congress has nominated Khandakar Md Saifullah and the Left Front constituent CPI Tapan Ganguli. In Jhargram (ST) seat TMC's Birbaha Soren (Tudu) will contest against Kunar Hembram of BJP. The Congress has fielded Jageswar Hembram and CPI(M) Deblina Hembram.
Manas Ranjan Bhunia is the TMC candidate from Medinipur seat against BJP's state president Dilip Ghosh. The Congress has nominated Sambhunath Chattopadhyay and the Left Front constituent CPI has fielded Biplab Bhatta for the seat.
In Purulia, sitting MP Mriganka Mahato of TMC will contest against BJP's Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato. The Left Front constituent All India Forward Bloc has nominated Bir Singh Mahato and the Congress Nepal Mahato for the seat.
In Bankura seat, TMC's Subrata Mukherjee will contest against Dr Subhas Sarkar of BJP. The CPI(M) has fielded Amiya Patra. The seat will have a triangular contest. Shyamal Santra is the TMC candidate from Bishnupur (SC) seat against BJP's Saumitra Khan. The CPI(M) has nominated Sunil Khan and the Congress has fielded Narayan Chandra Khan.
Besides general election observers and expenditure observers, the poll panel has for the first time deployed a special police observer and a special observer.
Voting in four Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand will be held on May 12. The seats where voting will be held are - Giridih, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur and Singhbhum. The high-decibel campaigning in Jharkhand for four Lok Sabha seats ended on Friday evening. Among the four seats, the contest is interesting in Giridih, Dhanbad and Singhbhum (Chaibasa).
In Chaibasa, there is a direct fight between Congress candidate Geeta Koda and Jharkhand BJP President and sitting Lok Sabha MP Lakshman Giluwa. Koda is the wife of former Chief Minister Madhu Koda who was a Lok Sabha MP from 2009 to 2014.
In rural areas, Geeta Koda is in a good position. In Chaibasa there are 12.57 lakh voters with six lakh from the Ho tribal community to which Geeta Koda also belongs. In 2014, Giluwa had secured 3,03,131 votes and Geeta Koda had got 2,15,607 votes. The Congress candidate at the time got 1,11,796 votes. This time Geeta Koda is the Congress candidate. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi have both campaigned for their party candidates.
In Dhanbad, the fight is between Congress candidate Kirti Jha Azad and sitting BJP MP PN Singh. Singh had got 5,43,491 votes in 2014 and then Congress candidate Ajay Kumar Dubey had got 2,50,537 votes. Azad has not received support from local Congress leaders and he is considered as an outsider though Rahul Gandhi did hold a roadshow to support him. Its impact on voters will only be known on counting day on May 23.
Another interesting seat is Giridih. The BJP has left the Giridih seat to its ally, All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU). The AJSU has fielded Jharkhand Water Resources Minister Chandra Prakash Chaudhary. He is pitted against Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) candidate and legislator Jaggnath Mahto who had lost the 2014 poll by just 40,000 votes against the BJP`s Rabindra Pandey.
In Jamshedpur, the contest is between the BJP`s sitting MP Vidyut Baran Mahto and Champai Soren of the JMM. In the third phase of polling in the state, the sixth overall in the country, there are 67 candidates in the fray in Jharkhand.
Voting in eight Lok Sabha constituencies in Madhya Pradesh will be held in - Morena, Bhind, Gwalior, Guna, Sagar, Vidisha, Bhopal, Rajgarh - on May 12. The high-decibel campaigning for eight Lok Sabha seats came to an end on Friday. This will be the third phase of polling in Madhya Pradesh, with the first and second phases having been held on April 29 and May 6.
The polling here on Sunday will decide the fate of several prominent candidates, including Digvijaya Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who are the Congress candidates, and the BJP's Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
The contest between Congress' Digvijaya Singh and Hindutva activist and Malegaon blast case accused Pragya Thakur in Bhopal will be one of the most keenly watched fights in the election. Political observers say that in order to shed his pro-minorities image, Digvijaya Singh peddled the 'soft Hindutva' line by roping in seers, including Computer Baba (Namdeo Das Tyagi) who conducted 'hath yoga' and set afire cow dung cakes.
They also conducted a roadshow in support of Digvijaya Singh in the state capital to woo voters. On the other hand, Pragya Thakur highlighted her alleged torture in police custody to win the sympathy of voters in Bhopal, which has been a BJP bastion since 1989. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP's Alok Sanjar had won from Bhopal with a margin of over 3.70 lakh votes.
Besides, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia is in the fray again from his traditional Guna seat which he is winning since 2002. Scindia's wife Priyadarshini Raje campaigned vigorously in the constituency in his absence. Even his son Mahaaryaman Jyotriaditya Scindia sent a video message to the electorates, urging them to vote for the right candidate in the interest of the region's development.
Scindia's opponent is the BJP's KP Yadav who is contesting his first parliamentary elections. The Congress leader had won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls with a margin of over 1.20 lakh votes.
Replacing sitting MP Anoop Mishra, who is a nephew of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP has fielded Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar from the Morena Lok Sabha seat. In 2014, Mishra won by a margin of 1.32 lakh votes. Tomar is pitted against the Congress' Ramniwas Rawat and the Bahujan Samaj Party's (BSP) Kartar Singh Bhadana.
In this phase, polling will also be held in Bhind, Gwalior, Sagar, Vidisha and Rajgarh. From Bhind, the BJP has fielded former MLA Sandhya Rai against Congress' Devashish Jararia, who is contesting his maiden election. In Gwalior, the BJP is banking on city Mayor Vivek Shejwalkar and the Congress has fielded Ashok Singh.
The saffron party has fielded Rajbahadur Singh from Sagar against Congress leader and former minister Prabhu Singh Thakur.
In Vidisha, BJP's Ramakant Bhargava is contesting against Congress' former MLA Shailendra Patel. From Rajgarh, the traditional seat of Congress stalwart Digvijay Singh, the party has fielded Mona Sustani, who is contesting her maiden Lok Sabha election, against the BJP's sitting MP Raodmal Nagar.
(With Agency Inputs)