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Lok Sabha Election Sixth Phase: Lot at stake for Priyanka Gandhi in UP; prestige battle for BJP in Delhi – 10 points

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Visuals from a polling booth in Delhi (ANI Photo)

Lok Sabha Election Sixth Phase Voting: Polling for the penultimate phase of the seven-phased Lok Sabha election 2019 is underway in 59 constituencies across India. Voting for sixth phase is being held across 7 states and all the seven seats in Delhi. Much is at stake both for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress general secretary for UP East Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in this phase. The BJP had won 45 of the 59 seats voting today including all seven in Delhi. On the other hand, Priyanka Gandhi’s role as a full-time politician is also under test as 13 of the 14 seats where voting is being held in Uttar Pradesh come under her charge as party general secretary.

10 Points

1) Voting is being held in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Shrawasti, Domariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr and Bhadohi Lok Sabha constituencies in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections. The phase will not only be a litmus test for Priyanka Gandhi but it will also decide the political future of several top politicians. In Azamgarh, BJP candidate Bhojpuri film star Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’ is up against former CM Akhilesh Yadav.

2) In Bihar, voting is being held in Valmiki Nagar, Vaishali, Paschim Champaran, Purvi Champaran, Sheohar, Gopalganj, Siwan and Maharajganj. The NDA had swept all the eight seats in 2014 with Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) winning the Vaishali constituency. The remaining were pocketed by the BJP. This time the BJP has left Siwan and Valmiki Nagar seats for ally Janata Dal (United).

3) In Delhi, voting is being held on all the seven seats. In 2014, the BJP had recorded a clean sweep winning every seat. The BJP had defeated AAP, Congress by comfortable margins from Chandni Chowk, North East Delhi, East Delhi, New Delhi, North West Delhi, West Delhi and South Delhi seats.

4) Facing a daunting task of retaining its 100 per cent record, the BJP had fielded several ‘star’ candidates this time. The party has fielded crickter-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir from East Delhi seat. Gambhir is pitted against Aam Aadmi Party’s Atishi Marlena and Congress’ seasoned leader Arvinder Singh Lovely. The saffron party has fielded famous Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans from North West Delhi dumping its prominent Dalit face Udit Raj who joined the Congress after being denied poll ticket.

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5) The East Delhi seat witnessed a vitriol-filled campaign with both the AAP and BJP engaging in intense blame game. The AAP filed couple of complaints against Gautam Gambhir alleging violation of poll code. However, the campaigning took an ugly turn a couple of days ahead of voting when the AAP alleged that Gambhir distributed pamphlets containing derogatory and obscene remarks about Atishi. Furious over the charges, Gautam Gambhir challenged the AAP prove the allegations and threatened to file a defamation case against top AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Atishi Marlena.

6) “If he (Arvind Kejriwal) can prove that I have anything to do with this pamphlet filth, then I will hang myself in public. Otherwise @ArvindKejriwal should quit politics. Accepted?” Gautam Gambhir tweeted. Apart from East Delhi seat, the North East Delhi constituency is also witnessing a clas between two political biggies. Congress has fielded former CM Sheila Dikshit against BJP’s Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari from the seat. Will the voters choose three-time CM Dikshit over the Bhojpuri singer/actor-turned politician? The AAP has fielded Dileep Pandey from the seat.

7) Voting is also underway in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal which is witnessing one of the most keenly watched contents of Lok Sabha election 2019. The seat witnessed a high-voltage campaigning from the BJP, which has fielded Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur against veteran Congress leader and former state CM Digvijaya Singh. Apart from Bhopal, Guna is another seat witnessing a high-profile contest. Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia, who has represented the seat in Lok Sabha since 2002, is contesting against BJP’s KP Yadav. He was once considered a close aide of Scindia.

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8) In West Bengal, voting in being held on eight Lok Sabha seats in the sixth phase of polls. Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram (ST), Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur (SC) constituencies are voting amid tightened security. With the state witnessing violence in previous phases of elections, the Election Commission this time has deployed 770 companies of central forces covering almost 100 per cent of the 15,428 polling booths.

9) Campaigning for the sixth phase of Lok Sabha election in Bengal witnessed high-pitched battled between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP. While PM Narendra Modi took the charge to attack Mamata Banerjee repeatedly, the Trinamool Congress chief also didn’t spare a single opportunity to hit back. “I have been told that Didi has said she wants to slap Modi. Mamata Didi IO call you ‘Didi’…respect you. I am ready for it…you slap will become blessing for me,” PM Modi had said addressing a rally in Purulia summing up the bitter poll campaign.

10) Four Jharkhand Lok Sabha seats – Dhanbad, Giridih, Jamshedpur and
Singhbhum (ST) – are also voting in this phase. The BJP had won all the four seats in 2014 and is hoping to retain them this year. However, the task would not be a cakewalk. Former BJP leader and Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad has been fielded by the Congress from Dhanbad where is up against heavyweight two-
time MP PN Singh.