Voting for the last phase of Lok Sabha elections continues, many big names including Prime Minister Modi and Kangana Ranaut are in the fray

The Uncut

New Delhi: In the seventh and final phase, polling is being held in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, all 13 seats in Punjab, four in Himachal Pradesh, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight in Bihar, six in Odisha and three in Jharkhand.

A total of 904 candidates are in the fray. Prominent candidates include Union Minister Anurag Thakur, Mamta Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti and actress Kangana Ranaut. More than 10.06 crore citizens, including about 5.24 crore men, 4.82 crore women and 3,574 ‘third gender’ voters, are eligible to vote in this phase. With voting today, the voting process that began on April 19 will end. So far, voting has been done for 486 Lok Sabha seats in 28 states and union territories.

Voting was also held for Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim assemblies. Counting of votes will take place on June 4.
According to the guidelines of the Election Commission, television channels and news organizations will be able to broadcast the exit poll data and its results after 6:30 pm on June 1. The Election Commission said that teams of polling personnel have been sent to their respective polling stations with EVMs and election material.

It said basic amenities like drinking water, ramps and toilets are being provided at 1.09 lakh polling stations to ensure voting in a comfortable and safe environment.

The commission called upon the voters to come out in large numbers and participate in the voting process with responsibility and pride. The voting percentage in the first six phases was 66.14 percent, 66.71 percent, 65.68 percent, 69.16 percent, 62.2 percent and 63.36 percent respectively.

The 13 Lok Sabha seats of this phase in Uttar Pradesh include Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Bansgaon (reserved), Ghosi, Salempur, Ballia, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Robertsganj (reserved), which are located in 11 districts. Out of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the seventh phase of the state, 11 are of general category, while two are reserved for scheduled castes.

Apart from Prime Minister Modi from Varanasi, prominent candidates in this phase include Union Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey (Chandauli), Union Minister of State Anupriya Patel (Mirzapur) and Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary (Maharajganj). Former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar’s son Neeraj Shekhar (Ballia), Mafia Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Afzal Ansari (Ghazipur), Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan and actress Kajal Nishad (Gorakhpur) are also contesting the elections.

Modi is contesting the election to win for the third time in a row from Varanasi, the ancient spiritual city situated on the banks of the Ganges. Prime Minister Modi is being challenged on the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat by Ajay Rai, the candidate of the opposition alliance ‘India’ and the president of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress. Rai has challenged Prime Minister Modi on this seat twice before.

Voting will be held on Saturday in South Bengal, which is considered the traditional stronghold of the Trinamool Congress. In the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha elections, voting will be held in Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbor, Jadavpur, Kolkata South and Kolkata North seats of West Bengal. Trinamool Congress had won all these seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In Mandi, the prestige of Ranaut and Himachal Pradesh minister Vikramaditya Singh is at stake. Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur is contesting from Hamirpur for the fifth time and former Union minister Anand Sharma is the Congress candidate from Kangra Lok Sabha constituency.

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