Last phase of Lok Sabha elections: Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: May 12 2014, 13:11pm hrs
Voting began this morning in six constituencies in the last of the six-phase Lok Sabha election in Bihar in which 90 candidates are contesting.

Among the candidates are film-maker Prakash Jha and former Union minister Raghubansh Prasad Singh.

While Jha is trying his luck on a JD(U) ticket from Paschim Champaran, more popularly known as Bettiah, Raghubansh Prasad Singh, who won praise for piloting MGNREGA, is fighting from his traditional Vaishali seat on a RJD ticket.

Singh is pitted against muscleman-politician Rama Singh of the LJP and Vijay Kumar Sahni of the JD(U).

The six seats going to the poll are Valmikinagar, Paschim Champaran, Purvi Champaran, Vaishali, Gopalganj(SC) and Siwan.

Elaborate security arrangement has been made for the last round of election with 58,000 security personnel put on duty while armed personnel would be posted at every polling location.

The Election Commission reduced poll timings by two hours in five assembly segments in view of perceived Maoist threat.

West Bengal

Voting began this morning in 17 constituencies in the last of the 5-phase Lok Sabha election in West Bengal to decide the fate of 188 candidates.

While the ruling Trinamool Congress would strive to retain all 14 of the 17 seats it had won in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the Left Front's efforts would be to wrest some among the 17 which it had lost last time.

An electorate of 2,55,75,744 is eligible to vote in the crucial round.

Central paramilitary forces would be deployed at all hyper-critical booths, while arrangement has been made for web casting and videography.

The 17 Lok Sabha constituencies are Beharampore, Krishnagar, Ranaghat, Bongaon, Barrackpore, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata (South), Kolkata (North), Tamluk, Contai and Ghatal.

Of the 17 constituencies, the CPI(M) had lost all the seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, while the CPI, SUCI and the Congress won one seat each.

The ruling Trinamool Congress had won 14 in 2009, while it had won only one seat in the 2004 general election.

Prominent candidates in fray are TMC's Sudip Bandyopadhyay in Kolkata North, Dinesh Trivedi in Barrackpore and Sougata Roy in Dum Dum, besides celebrities like Dipak Adhikari (Dev) in Ghatal and Tapas Paul in Krishnagar.

Trinamool Yuva President Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of Mamata Banerjee, is also a candidate to watch out.

CPI(M)'s Subhasini Ali was fighting from the Barrackpore seat.

BJP's candidate magician P C Sorcar (Junior) is contesting in Barasat, WBPCC President Adhir Chowdhury in Berhampore.

Also in the fray are former finance minister Asim Dasgupta of the CPI-M and former union minister Tapan Sikdar of the BJP in Dum Dum.

Uttar Pradesh

Polling began this morning on a peaceful note for 18 seats in the crucial last phase of Lok Sabha polls in eastern Uttar Pradesh, to decide the fate of 328 candidates, including BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, AAP's Arvind Kejriwal and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.

"The polling has started on a peaceful note and will continue till 6 pm. Elaborate security arrangements have been made for this phase", UP Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.

Over 3 crore voters, including 1.42 crore women, are expected to exercise their franchise at 19,881 polling centres to decide the fate of 328 candidates including 14 women and various political stalwarts.

In the mother of all political battles, Kejriwal will take on Modi from the the temple city of Varanasi, which witnessed massive show of strength by both the outsiders, also attracting the attention of international media.

Congress' Ajay Rai, a 'local' backed by Mukhtar Ansari's Quami Ekta Dal (QED), also wooed voters here as the high pitched canvassing saw allegations and counter-allegations flowing thick and fast between leaders of different hues.

On these 18 seats, Samajwadi Party had clinched six seats from the region, BSP (5), BJP (4) and Congress (3) in 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Interestingly, BSP had registered marginal loss and ended up in the second place in 12 seats.

The Samajwadi Party supremo, besides sticking to his traditional bastion in Mainpuri, has thrown his hat into the ring from Azamgarh too.

However, unlike Mainpuri, Azamgarh may not be a cakewalk for him as he faces a tough fight from BSP's Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali, Rastriya Ulema Council Chief Aamir Rashadi Madani, and Mulayam's former associate Ramakant Yadav, who is now fighting on a BJP ticket.

While Mulayam is banking on his traditional Muslim-Yadav vote bank, division of Muslim votes by Madani and Guddu Jamali could benefit Ramakant.

Political heavyweights like Minister of State for Home RPN Singh from Kushinagar and Jagdambika Pal, who switched sides from Congress to the saffron party is contesting against UP assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey (SP) from Domariyaganj seat.

The other prominent candidates include CPI's Atul Kumar Anjaan from Ghosi, who is locked in a tight contest against controversial legislator Ansari, BJP leader Kalraj Mishra from Deoria, yogi-turned politician Yogi Adityanath from Gorakhpur, Bhojpuri movie star Ravi Kishan from Jaunpur and former prime minister Chandrashekhar's son, Neeraj Shekhar from Ballia.

Muscleman Dhananjay Singh, who is a sitting MP, is again in the fray from Jaunpur, but this time as an independent candidate after being expelled from BSP.

Among smaller parties prominent leaders, who are in fray included Peace Party head, Mohammad Ayub from Domariyaganj, Apna Dal's (which has entered into an alliance with BJP) Anupriya Patel from Mirzapur, Rastriya Parivartan Dal's DP Yadav, whose son Vikas Yadav was convicted in murder of Nitish Katara and chief of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party Om Prakash Rajbhar from Salempur.

The 18 seats which are going to polls include Domariyaganj, Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Bansgaon, Lalganj, Ghosi, Azamgarh, Salempur, Ballia, Jaunpur, Machhlishahar, Gazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Robertsganj.

In 2009 Loksabha polls, 46.55 per cent votes were polled in these constituencies, while in 2012 assembly polls the percentage was 56.28.