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Friday, June 14, 2024

6th phase: Voting in 58 seats to take place today

Focus shifts to Jangal mahal region of Bengal and Delhi

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NEW DELHI, May 24: Voting for the sixth and penultimate phase of Lok Sabha polls will be held on Saturday in 58 constituencies in six states and two Union territories, including all the seven seats in Delhi and the Jangal Mahal region in Bengal.

Besides the national capital, polling will be held Saturday in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, all 10 seats of Haryana, eight seats each in Bihar and West Bengal, six seats in Odisha, four seats in Jharkhand and one seat in Jammu and Kashmir. Simultaneously, polling will be held for 42 assembly constituencies in Odisha.

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Over 11.13 crore voters – 5.84 crore male, 5.29 crore female and 5120 third gender – are eligible to exercise their franchise. The Election Commission (EC) has deployed around 11.4 lakh polling officials at 1.14 lakh polling stations.

With large parts of India sweltering under a heat wave, the EC has directed election officials and state machineries to take adequate measures to manage the adverse impact of hot weather.

Among the prominent candidates are Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal Gurjar, BJP’s Maneka Gandhi, Sambit Patra, Manohar Lal Khattar and Manoj Tiwari, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and Deepender Singh Hooda, Raj Babbar and Kanhaiya Kumar of Congress.

The poll panel also urged voters to come out in greater numbers and vote with responsibility and pride. It particularly reminded voters in urban centres like Delhi, Gurugram and Faridabad about their “right and duty to vote and break the trend of urban apathy”.

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The fifth phase saw a voter turnout of 62.2 per cent in the 49 seats that went to polls on May 20.

In West Bengal, voting will be held in the tribal belt Jangal Mahal region, spanning five districts. A hotspot for identity politics, the region sends eight representatives to Lok Sabha from Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura, and Bishnupur seats. Out of the eight seats, the BJP won five and TMC bagged three in the 2019 polls.

Soumendu Adhikari, the brother of Suvendu Adhikari, has been fielded from Kanthi, considered the backyard of the senior BJP leader.

In Tamluk, former judge of Calcutta High Court Abhijit Gangopadhyay is fighting on a BJP ticket against TMC’s young turk Debangshu Bhattacharya, known for composing the “Khela Hobe” song for the party in the 2021 assembly polls.

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An interesting fight is on the cards in Delhi with the BJP and the INDIA bloc partners pitted in a direct, one-on-one contest in all the seven seats.

This is the first time the AAP and the Congress have fielded joint candidates against the BJP. While the AAP is contesting on four seats, the Congress has fielded candidates on the remaining three seats.

The AAP, has fielded Kuldeep Kumar from East Delhi seat, Mahabal Mishra from West Delhi, Somnath Bharti from New Delhi and Sahi Ram Pahalwan from South Delhi.

The Congress has fielded J P Agarwal from Chandni Chowk, Kanhaiya Kumar from North East Delhi and Udit Raj from North West Delhi constituency.

The BJP candidates are Manoj Tiwari from North East Delhi, the only sitting MP from Delhi fielded by the party again; Ramvir Singh Bidhuri from South Delhi, Bansuri Swaraj from New Delhi, Harsh Deep Malhotra from East Delhi, Yogendra Chandolia from North West Delhi, Praveen Khandelwal from Chandni Chowk and Kamaljeet Sehrawat from West Delhi.

The seats going to the polls in Uttar Pradesh are Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Shrawasti, Domariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr and Bhadohi.

From Sultanpur, BJP candidate Maneka Gandhi is seeking her ninth entry into the Lok Sabha. The former Union minister is up against the Samajwadi Party’s Ram Bhual Nishad and the Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Uday Raj Verma.

In Azamgarh, incumbent MP Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua will be hoping to retain the seat for the BJP against the Samajwadi Party’s Dharmendra Yadav.

Jaunpur will witness former Maharashtra minister Kripashankar Singh of the BJP take on Samajwadi Party candidate Babu Singh Khushwaha and the incumbent MP Shyam Singh Yadav of the BSP.

Around 82.16 lakh voters, including 40.09 lakh females, are eligible to exercise their franchise in Giridih, Dhanbad, Ranchi and Jamshedpur constituencies of Jharkhand.

From Ranchi, Congress’s Yashaswini Sahay, daughter of former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay, is contesting against the BJP’s sitting MP Sanjay Seth. Dhanbad is heading for a direct fight between BJP’s Baghmara MLA Dulu Mahato and Congress’s Anupama Singh, wife of the party’s Bermo legislator Kumar Jaimangal.

A direct fight is also likely in Jamshedpur between BJP’s sitting MP Bidyut Baran Mahato and JMM’s Baharagora MLA Samir Mohanty. In Giridih, AJSU Party’s Chandra Prakash Chaudhary locked horns with JMM’s Tundi MLA Mathura Mahato.

Haryana is witnessing a direct fight between the ruling BJP and opposition Congress on most seats. Besides Union ministers Singh and Gurjar and former chief minister Khattar, and Congress’s Kumari Selja, Hooda and Babbar are among the candidates.

Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini is contesting the Karnal byelection.

Saini, who is the sitting Kurukshetra MP, was sworn in as the chief minister on March 12, replacing Khattar. Nine candidates are in the fray for the bypoll which was necessitated by Khattar’s resignation as MLA. Also after becoming chief minister, Saini needs to get elected as an MLA within six months.

Twenty candidates including Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference’s Mian Altaf are in the fray from the redrawn Anantnag-Rajouri constituency in jammu and Kashmir.

Multi-layer security arrangements have been put in place in the constituency spread across 18 assembly segments in Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian in south Kashmir and Rajouri and Poonch districts south of Pir Panjal.

Polling was originally slated for May 7 but the EC postponed it citing adverse weather conditions. The decision to defer voting by 18 days drew the ire of regional political factions which alleged favouritism towards the BJP-backed Apni Party candidate Zafar Manhas.

In Bihar, 86 candidates are in the fray in the eight seats of Valmiki Nagar, Pashchim Champaran, Purbi Champaran, Sheohar, Siwan, Gopalganj, Maharajganj and Vaishali.

Of these, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) is contesting in four, including Sheohar, which was won by the BJP five years ago.

Six parliamentary constituencies of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Puri and Sambalpur along with 42 assembly seats coming under these Lok Sabha segments will also go for polls. (PTI)

 

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