New Delhi: Long and winding elections to Lok Sabha finally ended Wednesday, but roughly half of the 71.4 crore registered electors participated in this democratic exercise that is widely expected to deliver a hung house.
Counting will be held on 16 May.
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The Congress-led UPA is looking for a new term in office while the NDA steered by the BJP is trying to end its term in the opposition, although it isn’t clear if one of them would on their own be able to muster the 272 seats needed to stake claim for power.
Politicians were fierce verbally during campaigning, but the elections itself were bloody with naxalites attacking polling and security personnel in the first two rounds leaving over 20 dead.
The fifth and final phase Wednesday saw elections to 86 constituencies across nine states and two union territories, including all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.
One person was killed and several hurt in clashes in Tamil Nadu, while another was killed in a clash between Trinamool Congress and CPI-M activists outside Kolkata before polling began.
Prominent candidates in Wednesday’s round included home minister P Chidambaram, DMK’s T R Baalu, Dayanidhi Maran and M K Azhagiri, Congress’ Md Azharuddin, BJP’s Maneka and Varun Gandhi and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, MDMK’s Vaiko and SP’s Jayaprada.
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Congress’ Mani Shankar Aiyar, Sajjad Gani Lone of People’s Conference, BJP’s Vinod Khanna and Navjot Singh Sidhu were also among the big names in this round that saw a total of 1,432 candidates jumping into the fray.
Besides all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, elections were held to four seats in Himachal Pradesh, two in Jammu and Kashmir, nine in Punjab, 14 in Uttar Pradesh, 11 in West Bengal, five in Uttarakhand and the lone one seat each in both Chandigarh and Puducherry.
Uttar Pradesh, which returns the highest number of MPs (80), and Jammu and Kashmir were the only two states to go to polls in all the five phases.
The Lok Sabha has 545 members, but elections are held to 543 seats as two members are nominated from the Anglo-Indian community.