Lok Sabha elections: 58 seats up for grabs today as voters to have their say in Phase 6 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Lok Sabha elections: 58 seats up for grabs today as voters to have their say in Phase 6

By, New Delhi/chandigarh
May 25, 2024 04:16 AM IST

At stake are the prospects of 889 candidates across six states and two Union territories.

From the agrarian swathes of Haryana where the political landscape witnessed major upheaval in the past month, to the high-octane contest in the national Capital, and from the delayed vote in the final seat in Jammu and Kashmir, to the continuation of the contest in key states such as Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, more than 110 million voters in 58 constituencies across 7 states and one Union territory will exercise their franchise in the penultimate phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Saturday.

Polling officials collect the electronic voting machines and other election materials on the eve of the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, in Prayagraj on Friday. (ANI)
Polling officials collect the electronic voting machines and other election materials on the eve of the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, in Prayagraj on Friday. (ANI)

At stake are the prospects of 889 candidates, which includes PDP president and former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, three family members of former deputy prime minister Devi Lal in Hisar and former Calcutta high court judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay in Bengal.

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Also voting on Saturday will be the 42 assembly seats in Odisha, where state polls are being held simultaneously.

With the conclusion of the sixth phase, 486 of India’s 543 parliamentary constituencies will have voted. This means that the political fate of 90% of the nation’s Lok Sabha seats will be sealed after Saturday.

The final phase of the elections is slated for June 1, while votes will be counted for both the Lok Sabha and the assembly elections on June 4.

All seven seats in Delhi, all 10 seats in Haryana, 14 in Uttar Pradesh, eight in Bihar, four in Jharkhand, six in Odisha and eight in West Bengal will go to polls. The voter turnout in the seats going to polls on Saturday in 2019 was 64.9%. The overall voting percentage in first six phases was 67.7%.

Of these 58 Lok Sabha seats, past results are available for the 57 PCs (electoral boundaries were redrawn in J&K, so a direct comparison isn’t possible). Of these, the Congress and its allies did not win any seat in 2019. The BJP swept Haryana, Delhi, Bihar and Jharkhand seats in this phase in 2019. In the remaining 28 Lok Sabha seats across Odisha, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh, BJP and allies won 16 and remaining 12 were won by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Samajwadi Party (SP), and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

“Concerned CEOs and state machineries have been directed to take adequate measures to manage the adverse impact of hot weather or rainfall wherever predicted. Polling stations are ready to welcome the voters with ample shade, drinking water, ramps and other basic facilities to ensure that polling takes place in a comfortable and secure environment,” the Election Commission of India said in a statement.

In Haryana, where all 10 seats are being contested in this round, there is a direct contest in majority of these seats. A by-poll is also being held for the Karnal assembly seat from where chief minister Nayab Singh Saini is the BJP candidate.

Among the top guns of the BJP whose fate will be sealed on May 25 are former chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar (Karnal), Union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh (Gurugram), Krishan Pal Gurjar (Faridabad), and Naveen Jindal (Kurukshetra), who is a former two-term Congress MP.

The prominent Congress leaders in the fray are Kumari Selja (Sirsa), Deepender Singh Hooda (Rohtak) and Raj Babbar (Gurugram).

For the BJP, which has targeted 30 of West Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha segments, the seventh phase is being seen as the most crucial one in the south Bengal region. In 2019, when the BJP set a record by winning 18 seats in the eastern state, its best performance was in the south Bengal districts that go polls on Saturday. Of the eight seats voting on Saturday, BJP won five – Jhargram, Purulia, Bankura, Bishnupur and Midnapore. TMC MP Sisir Adhikari and his son Dibyendu, who retained their Tamluk and Contai seats respectively in East Midnapore district, have switched over to the saffron camp since 2019.

In Bihar, the BJP-led NDA will try to retain all eight Lok Sabha seats – Valimiki Nagar, Pashim Champaran, Purvi Champaran, Sheohar, Vaisali, Gopalganj (SC), Siwan and Maharajganj – it won in 2019. Of these, BJP won four, JD(U) three and Janshakti Party (LJP), which split into two factions in 2021, one. Of the INDIA bloc parties, Congress is contesting two, Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal three each.

In Odisha, contest for six parliamentary constituencies – Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Puri and Sambalpur – and 42 assembly seats will take place.

In Jharkhand, four key Lok Sabha seats – Ranchi, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur and Giridih – are being contested. The battle for these seats is likely to be directly between NDA and INDIA bloc candidates.

In Jammu and Kashmir, vote will also take place in the Anantnag-Rajouri PC. This PC was originally slated to vote in the third phase on May 7, but the contest was postponed due to “adverse weather” at the time. A triangular contest is expected between PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference candidate Mian Altaf and the Apni Party candidate Zaffar Iqbal Manhas. BJP has not fielded a candidate from the seat, but is supporting Manhas.

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