1,315 to fight it out in penultimate phase of polls (Poll Curtainraiser)May 6th, 2009 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) The fate of several political veterans, including External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh, will be decided Thursday in the penultimate round of the five-phase Indian elections in eight states.
A total of 1,315 candidates, including 119 women, are battling it out in the fourth phase of the polls. As many as 94.6 million voters will be eligible to exercise their franchise in 85 constituencies.
The Election Commission has set up 129,103 polling centres, to be overseen by 650,000 officials.
Special mobile polling stations will facilitate voters in the vast desert region of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, the country’s largest state.
While polling in Bihar and West Bengal would conclude in this phase, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir still have a round to go. Balloting will be held on a single day in Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab.
Pranab Mukherjee is contesting from Jangipur in West Bengal and Rajnath Singh from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. The other bigwigs in the fray Thursday are Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Ajit Singh (Baghpat), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad (Patliputra) and Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference (Srinagar).
Union minister and Chandni Chowk MP Kapil Sibal from the Congress, Sachin Pilot (Congress) and Manvendra Singh (BJP) in Rajasthan, Bollywood actor turned politician Shatrughan Sinha and television star Shekhar Suman from Bihar are also in the race.
The last round of balloting would be held May 13 in the remaining 86 constituencies. The vote count is due May 16.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded the maximum 82 candidates followed by the Congress and BJP (70 each), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) 21, Communist Party of India eight, Nationalist Congress Party six and RJD two. There are 609 independents.
New Delhi and Chandni Chowk constituencies in the national capital have the most number of candidates — 41 and 40 respectively. Gautam Buddh Nagar, which also includes Noida, and Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh have six women candidates each — the highest.
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