LS polls: Final showdown on Monday
After more than a month-long polling spanning across eight phases which witnessed a record turnout of voters, India will exercise its franchise in ninth and last phase of the Lok Sabha polls on Monday to seal the fates of 606 candidates, including bigwigs like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal who are pitted against each other in the holy city of Varanasi.
Polling will be held in 41 seats across West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with the spotlight in Varanasi owing to the contest of two heavyweights while Bengal hogged the limelight for pre-poll violence.
Among the three states, Uttar Pradesh assumes greater significance as voters will decide the fates of two prime ministerial candidates- Kejriwal and Modi- who are contesting the battle against each other in the Varanasi seat.
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is likely to play yet another crucial role in the government formation at the Centre, is contesting from Azamgarh seat in UP where people will vote on Monday.
A total of 18 seats, out of 80, will go to polls on Monday in the politically significant north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, which will again play a lead role in electing the country's next PM.
In West Bengal, polling will be held in 17 seats, including South and North Kolkata seats. Fates of 188 candidates will be sealed in the state by voters in the final phase of the polling.
Meanwhile, violence has been reported from different parts of West Bengal, including Kolkata, on Sunday. Several opposition party members were allegedly attacked by the ruling Trinamool Congress though the latter denied the charges.
In Bihar, voters will decide the fates of 90 candidates as polling will be held in six LS seats on Monday .
This year's polling has witnessed record turnout of voters as 66.27pc voting was reported in 502 Lok Sabha seats so far.
Counting of votes will take place on May 16.
(Posted on 12-05-2014)