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PM Modi’s Varanasi seat among 57 voting in final phase on Saturday

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 After high-voltage campaigning just short of two months, all eyes are now on the final phase of Lok Sabha elections on Saturday when 57 seats, including that of Varanasi, from where PM Narendra Modi is seeking a re-election to a third term, go to vote.

All seats of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab will be voting on June 1, including that of Union Territory of Chandigarh. Voting will also be held are eight seats in Bihar, Jharkhand (3), Odisha (6), Uttar Pradesh (13), and West Bengal (9).

Of these 57, BJP won 25 in 2019, while the Congress bagged eight and TMC nine.

The longest election process of the country after the 1951-52 polls – spanning 75-day of campaigning for the seven-phased polls – ended Thursday with the ruling BJP-led NDA seeking a record third term under Modi and the Opposition INDIA bloc a reversal of fortune after a decade led by Congress.

According to the Election Commission, a total of 904 candidates will be in the fray, including 328 from Punjab, 144 from Uttar Pradesh, 134 from Bihar, 66 from Odisha, 52 from Jharkhand, 37 from Himachal Pradesh, and four from Chandigarh.

Prime Minister Modi’s constituency – Varanasi will also vote in the final phase bringing the curtains down on a seven-phase election that began April 19. Modi won from the Varanasi seat in 2014 and 2019, and is now eyeing his third term. Ajay Rai previously a BJP man, but joined Congress in 2012 is his opponent.

Besides this, other prominent faces in the fray are actor Kangana Ranaut from Mandi, Union Minister Anurag Thakur from Hamirpur as he seeks his fifth term.

SAD’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal is fielded from Punjab’s Bhatinda Lok Sabha constituency as it witnesses a four-way battle with Congress candidate Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, AAP’s Gurmeet Singh Khudian and BJP’s Parampal Kaur Sidhu.

Actor Ravi Kishan is also contesting from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, while RJD Lalu Prasad Yadav’s eldest daughter Misa Bharti is contesting from Bihar’s Pataliputra Lok Sabha constituency in this phase.

Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee’s fate will also be sealed on June 1. He is contesting from Diamond Harbour.

After completing his whirlwind campaign across West Bengal, on the last day, Modi addressed Punjab and headed to the southern-most tip of the nation. He is in Kanyakumari on a 48-hour long meditation which will end on Saturday evening as polling ends finally.The results will be declared on June 4.

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