Phase VII tryst with 16th Lok Sabha; Vigil stepped up pan-India
Under a veil of security, India set out for the phase seven of its tryst with the 16th Lok Sabha
Waters will be tested in Gujarat's 26 seats, Andhra Pradesh (17), Punjab (13), Uttar Pradesh (14), West Bengal (nine), Bihar (seven) and one each in Jammu and Kashmir, Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The polling process will be wrapped up in 438 seats, leaving only 105 in the remaining two rounds on May 7 and 12.
Stalwarts whose fate is involved in this round include BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi (Vadadora), Congress president Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli), BJP chief Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley (Amritsar), senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi (Kanpur) besides National Conference leader and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah (Srinagar) and former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh (Amritsar).
Also in the fray in this round are BJP leader Uma Bharti, musician Bappi Lahri, actress Shatabdi Roy and Kalyan Banerjee, both Trinamool Congress candidates, cricketer Kirti Azad of BJP, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, wife of SAD president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna.
Gujarat, with 26 seats, geared up for single phase polling on April 30, amid elaborate security, at 45,380 polling booths.
A total of 4.06 crore voters can exercise their franchise to settle the fate of 334 contenders.
To ensure free and fair polling, preventive action has been taken against 13,000 people.
Out of the total 45,380 polling booths in the state, 10,725 have been identified as 'critical'.
Modi is contesting from Vadodara in the state besides Varanasi, which would go to polls on May 7.
May 16 is set for the verdict.
(Posted on 29-04-2014)