Polling ends for the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2019. Polling in this phase took place for 59 seats in 7 states and 1 union territory
Polling was held in all 13 seats in Punjab and an equal number of seats in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight seats each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and the lone seat Chandigarh.
Polling began on Sunday morning for 59 Lok Sabha seats in the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha polls to decide the fate of 918 candidates including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking to retain the Varanasi seat in Uttar Pradesh.
Over 10.01 crore voters were were eligible to exercise their franchise.
The Election Commission had set up more than 1.12 lakh polling stations and has deployed security personnel for smooth conduct of polls.
A by-poll was held in Panaji, necessitated due to the death of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar in March. Bye-elections were also be held in four assembly constituencies of Tamil Nadu —
Sulur, Aravakurichi, Ottapidaram (SC) and Thiruparankundram — and the Dehri assembly seat in Bihar.
In Uttar Pradesh, all eyes are on Varanasi, where besides Modi, 25 other candidates are in the fray. Modi’s main challengers are Congress’s Ajay Rai and SP-BSP grand alliance’s nominee Shalini Yadav.
Union minister Manoj Sinha, Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey are seeking re-election from Ghazipur and Chandauli respectively.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri are among the 278 candidates including 24 women whose fate is being decided in Punjab.
Besides Punjab, more than 6 lakh voters in the union territory of Chandigarh will choose between sitting MP and BJP candidate Kirron Kher and former railway minister and Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab unit chief Bhagwant Mann are among other prominent candidates in the fray. An electorate of 1,49,63,064 will decide the fate of 111 candidates in nine seats of West Bengal — Kolkata North and Kolkata South, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, Jayanagar (SC) and Mathurapur (SC).
As many as four Union ministers — Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ram Kripal Yadav, RK Singh and Ashwini Kumar Choubey — are among the 157 candidates in Bihar.
The electoral fortunes of 42 candidates including that of the former chief minister and Union minister Shibu Soren are being decided in Jharkhand. Dewas, Ujjain, Mandsaur, Ratlam, Dhar, Indore, Khargone and Khandwa seats in Madhya Pradesh, all currently held by the BJP, are going to polls in Madhya Pradesh.
Polling was held in all four Lok Sabha constituencies in Himachal Pradesh.
An average of 66.88 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the last six phases. The whole elections were spread over 38 days. Counting of votes will be taken up on May 23.
Campaigning for Lok Sabha elections spread over 38 days drew to a close on Friday as top leaders made a final push in the seventh and concluding phase for the remaining 59 seats that included Varanasi where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to retain the seat.
In a first, campaigning in West Bengal came to an end on Thursday, 20 hours before the scheduled time, on the orders of the Election Commission in the aftermath of violence between the BJP and the ruling TMC in Kolkata during BJP chief Amit Shah’s roadshow.
After the close of voting the focus will shift to exit polls which are not always known to be correct.
Counting of votes in the world’s largest exercise in democracy will be taken up on May 23.
(With inputs from agency)