Frantic campaigning as Britain goes to polls ThursdayMay 5th, 2010 - 6:09 pm ICT by IANS
London, May 5 (IANS) Party leaders with an eye on No.10 Downing Street rolled up their sleeves and shook that extra hand ascampaigning shifted to top gear as Britain prepared to vote Thursday in one of the most closely fought elections in recent times.
The Conservatives, led by David Cameron, are hoping to return to power after 13 years of Labour government, while Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s surging popularity could upset many political calculations.
Labour seems to be facing an uphill task, which has not been made easy by their leader and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s chance encounter with a 65-year-old widow, who he called “bigoted”.
That’s not all. Indian origin Labour candidate Manish Sood has described Brown as the “worst prime minister ever”.
Brown, who succeeded former prime minister Tony Blair, has pushed on and vowed to fight every inch of the way.
Around 45 million people are eligible to cast their vote in the closely contested elections at 650 constituencies.
Cameron, who hit the campaign trail for a straight 36 hours as polling came to a close Wednesday, said the elections were “close”. He has called for a cap on immigration, an issue that has a direct bearing on Asian, African and Caribbean immigration.
It’s the “most important election in a generation”, he told a TV channel.
A YouGov daily tracker poll for the Sun shows the Conservatives were unchanged on 35 percent, Labour at 30 percent and the Liberal Democrats at 24 percent.
According to the Electoral Commission, the voter turn out in the past three elections have been - at the May 1, 1997 general election: 71.4 percent, at the June 7, 2001 general election: 59.54 percent and at the May 5, 2005 general election: 61.4 percent.
Political commentators have described it as the closest elections in decades, with opinion polls showing Cameron having a slim chance of getting a majority of seats in the House of Commons.
The three main parties are working round the clock after a new survey found that almost 40 percent of voters have yet to make a final decision.
The high-pitched campaigning has seen Brown, Cameron and Clegg battling it out on TV debates and hitting the streets. Their fate will be decided Thursday.
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