By Neeraj Bajpai New Delhi/Varanasi/Kolkata, May 10 UNI | 6 months ago

Whistle stop meetings, road shows, whirlwind tours and cacophony of loudspeakers marked the end of the virulent campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha elections with ancient city of Varanasi a witness to a massive road show by Congress vice-resident Rahul Gandhi, much to discomfiture of rivals.

Today's campaign end has finally wrapped up stumping in 543 seats of the 16th Lok sabha.

Two members will be nominated to the 545 MP lower house of Parliament.

BJP dubbed the Rahul Gandhi show as farewell of the Congress party.

More than 60 million electorate will seal the fate of 606 candidates in 41 seats spread over Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar, which go to the polls in the final lap of voting on May 12.

In this round of 41 seats, the performance of parties in 2009 was Trinamool Congress (14), BJP and SP (six each), BSP (five) Congress( four), JD-United (two), RJD and CPI( one each) and Independents (two).

Road shows, one after the other, left locals bewildered in the city of temples as even for a clairvoyant pollster, it is an uphill task to decipher voters'mood.

All road shows "Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav -were different in more ways than one.

Modi's show was embroiled in controversies after EC's denial of permission for a rally in Beniabagh, Arvind Kejriwal drew passionate crowd of youngsters and his backers who descended there from across the world and Congress declined to make a comparison on plea it was locals' turn for turnout. Akhilesh Yadav, UP Chief Minister and Samajwadi party leader, also drew crowds despite a blazing sun and SP asserted crowds were not ferried but it was spontaneous.

"We are keeping our fingers crossed over Varanasi outcome as no one can work out whose magical spell will capitivate voters at last," many perplexed onlookers said.

Rahul held a six-km-long road show for party nominee Ajai Rai in Varanasi, from Gol Gudda to Lanka crossing in the morning hours. Akhilesh Yadav was also not behind in holding a road show for the SP candidate Kailash Chaurasia. Rahul campaigned against BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

High octane campaign hit crescendo in 41 seats spread over Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar as gongs fell silent today for the final lap.

The verdict is set for May 16-Friday.

(Posted on 10-05-2014)

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