New Delhi, Apr. 24: Polling is underway for the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections. Voting is taking place for 117 constituencies spread over 11 states and one union territory.
These are – all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, 19 in Maharashtra, 12 in Uttar Pradesh, 10 in Madhya Pradesh, 7 each in Bihar and Chhattisgarh, 6 each in Assam and West Bengal, 5 in Rajasthan, 4 in Jharkhand and one each in Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Puducherry.
Voting commenced amid tight security at 7 a.m., and will end at 6 p.m. In Naxal-hit areas and Jammu and Kashmir, it is expected to end earlier.
Prominent candidates, whose fate will be decided today, include V. Narayanasamy, Salman Khurshid, Jitendra Singh, Namonarayan Meena, Mohammad Azharuddin, Milind Deora, Priya Dutt and Abhijit Mukherjee of the Congress and Sushma Swaraj, Hema Malini and Shahnawaz Hussain of BJP.
Other prominent candidates include Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party, Tariq Anwar of NCP and Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja and TR Baalu of DMK and Medha Patkar of Aam Aadmi Party.
In Uttar Pradesh, 167 candidates are in the fray for 12 seats. Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said, 504 polling centres will be under direct observation through Web casting.
In Bihar, besides 7 Lok Sabha seats, polling is also underway for bye-elections of two assembly constituencies – Baisi and Kochadhaman. Elaborate security arrangements have been made for polling in naxal affected areas.
In Rajasthan, polling is progressing smoothly for 5 Lok Sabha seats. 81 candidates are in the fray. Congress, BJP, BSP and AAP are contesting all 5 seats, while National Peoples Party has fielded its candidate in 3 and SP in 2 seats.
In Jammu and Kashmir, 12 candidates are in the fray in the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency. The main contest is between PDP President Mehbooba Mufti and Mehboob Beg of National Conference, who is seeking re-election.
In Chhattisgarh, polling has also begun for 7 Lok Sabha seats.
In West Bengal, over 83 lakhs voters will today decide the fate of 78 candidates in six seats. Besides State Police, around 147 companies of Central Para Military forces have been deployed to ensure free and fair polling.
In Madhya Pradesh, polling is on for 10 Lok Sabha seats. 118 candidates are in the fray. Our correspondent reports that polling is also underway for the bye-election to Vidisha Assembly segment.
In Maharashtra, polling is underway for 19 Lok seats. Our correspondent reports that the fate of 338 candidates will be decided in this phase.
In Tamil Nadu, 845 candidates are in the fray for 39 Lok Sabha seats. Bye-election to Alandur Assembly segment is also underway. Our correspondent reports that security has been strengthened as more than one lakh personnel have been deployed. (ANI with inputs)