Apart from the high-stakes battle, the Varanasi constituency has achieved the distinction of having the highest number of 42 candidates in fray in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, though it has to share the honour with Chennai South which has an equal number of contestants.
BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal, Ajay Rai of Congress, Vijay Prakash Jaiswal of BSP and Samajwadi Party's Kailash Chaurasiya are among the 42 candidates in contention in Varanasi which goes to polls in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections tomorrow.
Polling in Chennai South was held on April 24 in the sixth phase. Those among the 42 aspirants were T K S Elangovan of DMK, BJP's La Ganesan, V Balaji of BSP, S V Ramani of Congress and AIADMK's J Jayavardhan.
Incidentally, there were 43 contestants in the fray in the Chennai South seat during the 2009 polls, while 35 candidates fought in the 2004 elections, the highest number both times for any Lok Sabha constituency in the country, according to Election Commission data. Neighbouring Chennai North this time had 40 candidates in the fray. The Raipur seat, which went to polls on April 24, had 36 contestants vying for top honours that included Ramesh Bais of BJP, BSP's Guruji Virendra Kumar Dahariya and Satya Narayan Sharma of Congress.
In Amethi, where Rahul Gandhi is fighting for a third consecutive term, there were a total of 34 aspirants.
Among other constituencies, Dhanbad had 31 candidates, Malkajgiri and Secunderabad 30 each and Muzaffarpur, Bathinda, and Lucknow 29 each.