New Delhi: Campaigning for the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections will end on Friday evening in 59 constituencies spread across six states. The second last phase of polls is set to decide the fate of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, Union minister Maneka Gandhi, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and his rival from BJP Pragya Thakur among other.
Voting will be held in 14 seats of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana's ten seats, four each in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, seven in Delhi and four in Jharkhand. Bharatiya Janata Party had won 44 of the 59 seats going to polls on May 12.
Congress's east UP in-charge Priyanka Gandhi is geared up for a hectic day on Friday with rallies scheduled in UP's Jaunpur, Pratapgarh and Sultanpur. In Sultanpur, Gandhi will hold a roadshow in support of Sanjay Singh, who has been pitted against her aunt Maneka Gandhi.
The Congress leader will also address a public meeting in Sidharthnagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Bhadoi.
The grand old party is quite hopeful in eight seats of Madhya Pradesh — Bhind, Bhopal, Dewas, Guna, Gwalior, Morena, Rajgarh and Sagar. Out of these eight seats, the BJP had failed to win only Guna in 2014. In fact, the BJP had won 27 out of the 29 seats in the state.
Similar to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, a direct contest between the BJP and Congress is expected in MP.
A total of 979 candidates are in the fray. A survey report issued by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) states that of the 967 candidates, 311 are crorepatis.
The states have also beefed up their security for the sixth phase. While over 71,000 security personnel will be deployed by Centre in West Bengal to ensure violence-free elections, 60,000 personnel, including the Home Guards and paramilitary forces, will be on duty in New Delhi.
To avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Maoist-affected Jangalmahal area of Bengal, security personnel have been directed not to move in vehicles, officials said.
In Delhi, a public notice will be issued by poll authorities on Saturday to disseminate information to voters about the option of using NOTA (none of the above) if they wish to reject all candidates.
The metro train services in Delhi will also begin from 4 am, two hours earlier than regular timing, on May 12 so that the staff deployed for election duty can avail the facility for travelling.