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Campaigning for 4th phase of polls over

Source: PTI
May 05, 2009 11:32 IST
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Campaigning ends on Tuesday for the fourth round of the Lok Sabha polls on May 7, when the fate of BJP President Rajnath Singh, Congress' Pranab Mukherjee, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad would be decided.

Star campaigners of the UPA, the NDA and the Third Front traversed through the country and told voters in the states going to the polls why the other alliance should not be elected instead of talking about any worthwhile issues affecting today.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi stepped up his tirade against BJP's PM hopeful L K Advani, saying he should have resigned as the Home Minister once he realised that a cabinet colleague of his had escorted terrorists in return for the release of hostages in Kandahar.

The BJP, too, continued its criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, calling him "weak".

"If the Prime Minister only wants to clear files while the political decisions are taken by Sonia Gandhi, then I am afraid what we need is a cabinet secretary and not a Prime Minister," BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister launched an attack on the Left, which withdrew support to the UPA over the civil nuclear deal with the US, saying that its policies are "retrograde" and "lack far-sightedness".

A total of 1,315 candidates, including 119 women, are in the fray in the fourth phase that will witness polling to 85 Lok Sabha seats in eight states and union territories.

Prominent among the candidates are National Conference's Farooq Abdullah (Srinagar), Congress' Kapil Sibal (Chandni Chowk), Sachin Pilot (Ajmer), Shekar Suman (Patna Saheb), BJP's Shatrughan Sinha (Patna Saheb), HJC's Bhajan Lal (Hisar) and RLD's Ajit Singh (Baghpat).

Rajnath Singh is contesting from Ghaziabad Lok Sabha seat, while Mukherjee is fighting from Jangipur and Mulayam from Mainpuri. Lalu Prasad, who has already entered polls from Saran Lok Sabha seat, is also contesting from Pataliputra to further secure his place in Parliament.

Former BJP strongman Kalyan Singh is fighting as an independent with the support of Samajwadi Party from Etah. Polling for all the 25 seats in Rajasthan, 10 in Haryana and seven in Delhi will be completed at one go.

Elections will also be held to three seats in Bihar, one in Jammu and Kashmir, four in Punjab, 18 in Uttar Pradesh and 17 in West Bengal.

At the end of the fourth phase, elections would be completed to 457 of the 545-member Lok Sabha. Elections are held only to 543 seats, as two members are nominated from the Anglo-Indian community.

As many as 9.46 crore voters are eligible to cast their ballots in this phase across 1.29 polling booths that would be manned by over six lakh election officials.

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