Stakes will be high for Congress and BJP and a number of other parties like AIADMK, DMK, NCP and Shiv Sena when 117 constituencies will go to polls tomorrow in yet another substantial round of polling in the Lok Sabha elections.
Over 18 crore voters in 11 states and union territory of Puducherry will be able to vote in the sixth of the nine- phased elections tomorrow in which there are 2076 candidates. It will decide whether BJP, which has cobbled a rainbow coalition of six parties, will be able to break the citadels of dravidian parties DMK and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. 39 constituencies in the state and the lone seat in Puducherry will complete voting on a single day.
DMK has 18 seats and AIADMK 8. Congress, whose success in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in the last two general elections in alliance with DMK is unlikely to retain any of the eight seats it has.
Among the prominent candidates in the field in Tamil Nadu are former minister Dayanidhi Maran (Central Chennai), former Telecom Minister A Raja (Nilgiris), DMK leader T R Baalu, Finance Minister P Chidambaram's son Karti (Sivaganga), DMK leader Vaiko (Virudunagar) and Union Minister V Narayanasamy (Puducherry).
Another prestige contest tomorrow will be the elections in Maharashtra where polling will be held in 19 seats, including six in Mumbai, all of them held by Congress and its ally NCP. Important candidates in fray are Union Minister Milind Deora ( Mumbai-South), Priya Dutt (Mumbai-North Central), Gurudas Kamath (Mumbai-North West), AAP candidates Medha Patkar (Mumbai North East) and Meera Sanyal (Mumbai-South).
In the battleground states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, polling will be held in 12 seats and 7 seats respectively. The fourth phase of polling in UP will decide the fate of 187 candidates, including SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri), his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav in Kannauj and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid (Farrukhabad). Jayant Chaudhary, son of RLD chief Ajit Singh, is locked in a stiff contest with BJP candidate and Bollywood star Hema Malini in Mathura.
In Bihar, BJP's Shahnawaz Hussain, party's lone Muslim face in the outgoing Lok Sabha (Bhagalpur), NCP General Secretary Tariq Anwar (Katihar), former Union Minister and RJD leader Mohd Taslimuddin and former Home Secretary R K Singh (Supual-BJP) are in the fray.
Polling will be held in six constituencies in the second phase of polling in West Bengal where President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit and Mamata Banerjee's bete noire Deepa Dasmunshi are among the candidates. Abhijit had won the Jangipur seat by a slender margin of 2,536 votes in a 2012 by-election when his father Pranab Mukherjee vacated the seat to become the President of India.
While five of the six seats - Raiganj, Maldaha Uttar, Maldaha Dakshin, Jangipur and Murshidabad - were won by the Congress in 2009 general elections, which it fought in alliance with the TMC in West Bengal, the Balurghat seat was won by the RSP. Tomorrow's election will also decide fate of Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj (Vidisha) and BJP veteran Sumitra Mahajan, who is eyeing a record eighth consecutive victory in Indore in Madhya Pradesh.
Four constituencies will go to poll tomorrow in the third and last phase of Lok Sabha election in Jharkhand where a total of 72 candidates are in the fray. Former chief ministers Shibu Soren (JMM) and Babulal Marandi (Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantric) are among the prominent candidates contesting from Dumka. Also in the fray from Dumka is BJP's Sunil Soren. In the third and final phase, six constituencies will go to poll tomorrow in Assam to decide the fate of 74 candidates.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha since 1991, and his wife Gursharan Kaur are scheduled to arrive here tomorrow and cast their votes at Dispur Government Higher Secondary School.In minority-dominated Dhubri constituency, the contest is expected to be between AIUDF Chief and sitting MP Badruddin Ajmal, Congress candidate Wazed Ali Choudhury and BJP's Debamoy Sanyal. An interesting battle is on the cards in the Kokrajhar (ST) constituency with six candidates in fray including Assam Tourism minister Chandan Brahma of BPF and sitting BPF MP S K Bwismuthiary who was denied a ticket by the party and is now contesting as an independent bidding to win for the fifth consecutive term.
In Jammu and Kashmir, polling will be held in Anantnag Lok Sabha seat against the backdrop of the killing of four political workers. 12 candidates including NC's Mehboob Beg, sitting MP, and opposition PDP president Mehbooba Mufti are in fray in the constituency in which over 12 lakh voters are eligible to vote. The fate of 81 contestants including two Union Ministers and a former cricketer will be decided in the second and last phase of Lok Sabha polling in five constituencies in Rajasthan tomorrow. Former cricketer Mohd Azharuddin, who has shifted from Moradabad in UP, is facing a triangular contest against BJP's Sukhbir Singh Jaunpuria, and NPP's Jagmohan Meena (brother of KL Meena).
In Chhattisgarh, polling will be held in the remaining seven of the 11 seats in which among the prominent contenders are Karuna Shukla, niece of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Congress) and Union Minister Charan Das Mahant (Korba)- lone Congress MP from the state.