NEW DELHI, May 11 � The marathon Lok Sabha elections, one of the most bitterly fought in recent memory, will come to a close on Monday when polling will be held in 41 constituencies in three States where stakes are high for the BJP and regional parties Trinamool Congress, SP and BSP, reports PTI.
Over nine crore voters are expected to decide the fate of 606 candidates, including the BJP�s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal (both Varanasi) and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (Azamgarh) in tomorrow�s ninth and final phase of polling.
Campaigning in the election that started on April 7 came to an end on Saturday with Rahul Gandhi taking the battle to Modi�s turf in Varanasi, while other top leaders, including Modi and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, addressing last minute meetings.
The counting of votes in all the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies will be taken up on May 16. An average of 66 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the last eight phases. The whole elections were spread over 35 days.
Of the 41 seats, heartland Uttar Pradesh will witness polling in 18 seats. Of these, the ruling Samajwadi Party has six seats, followed by BSP 5, BJP 4 and Congress 3. West Bengal has 17 seats in which polling will be held. Of these, the ruling Trinamool Congress has 14 seats, while the Congress, the CPI and Independent have one each. In neighbouring Bihar, six seats are up for grabs. Of them, the BJP and the JD(U) have two each, while the RJD and Independent have one each.
The last phase of the campaign also saw the BJP mounting an all-out war on the Election Commission over refusal of permission for Modi to address a public meeting at a spot of his choice in Varanasi. The poll panel rejected all charges of bias levelled by the BJP and said its decisions in Varanasi and elsewhere were unanimous.
Polling was by and large peaceful in the previous eight phases barring incidents of Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.