From Rahul Gandhi to Smriti Irani: Fates of THESE political bigwigs to be decided today in Lok Sabha polls phase 5


Monday, 20 May 2024 (09:40 IST)
New Delhi: Displaying cheerfulness and zeal, large numbers of Indian citizens lined up outside the polling booths, as voting began for 49 seats stretching over six states and two Union Territories in phase five of the Lok Sabha election at 7 am on Monday.
The electoral fate of political big guns like Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani, and Piyush Goyal, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah would be sealed by the end of the day, when over 8.95 crore voters are eligible to express their democratic choice across 94,732 polling stations.
According to the Election Commission of India, the electorate comprises around 4.69 crore males, 4.26 crore females and 5,409 from the third gender in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal and two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Cities like Mumbai, Thane, Lucknow have gone to the polls in this phase when the voting would officially come to an end at 6 pm. However, the closing time may vary in some constituencies.
Three of the constituencies are reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates and seven for those belonging to the Scheduled Castes.
Polling for 35 constituencies of the Odisha Assembly is also taking place simultaneously.
Uttar Pradesh has the largest share of seats (14) in this round, followed by Maharashtra (13), West Bengal (seven), Bihar and Odisha (five each), Jharkhand (three) and Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh (one each) as India moves closer to electing a total of 543-member Lok Sabha in staggered, seven-phase polls
Among the constituencies to watch out for are Lucknow, from where Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is seeking a third term.
An absorbing contest is on in Rae Bareli where former Congress president Rahul Gandhi is being challenged by BJP’s Dinesh Pratap Singh - a minister in the Yogi Adityanath government.
In the 2019 general elections, Rahul Gandhi lost to BJP's Smriti Irani in Amethi and has this time shifted to neighbouring Rae Bareli, another traditional Congress stronghold from where his mother, Sonia Gandhi resigned and got elected to the Rajya Sabha. Rahul Gandhi has also contesting from Kerala’s Wayanad where voting has concluded.
In Amethi, Irani is facing close confidant of the Gandhi family and Congres­­­­­s candidate Kishori Lal Sharma.
In Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla, Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) leader Omar Abdullah is clashing with Sajad Lone of the Peoples Conference (PC).
Another heavyweight constituency is Mumbai North from where Union Minister Piyush Goyal is facing a challenge from Congress’ Bhushan Patil.
Altogether, 153 observers, 2,000 Flying Squads, 2,105 Static Surveillance Teams, 881 Video Surveillance Teams and 502 Video Viewing Teams are keeping surveillance round the clock.
Besides, there are 216 international border check posts and 565 inter-state border check posts for keeping a strict vigil on any illicit flow of liquor, drugs, cash, and freebies. Strict surveillance has been kept at sea and air routes, the ECI said.
So far, around 45.1 crore voters have turned up at polling stations, recording a polling percentage of 66.95 in 379 constituencies spread across 23 states and Union Territories in the first four phases. The polls were held on April 19, April 26, May 7, and 13.
Polling for the last two phases will be conducted on May 25 and June 1. The votes for all the phases will be counted on June 4.

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