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Curtains fall on campaigning for Phase-IV Lok Sabha polls

New Delhi: Campaigning for the fourth phase of polling scheduled for April 29 in 72 parliamentary constituencies across nine states ended Saturday after days of hectic canvassing as leaders made energetic efforts to garner votes.

Polling will be held in 17 seats in Maharashtra, 13 each in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, eight in West Bengal, six each in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, five in Bihar, three in Jharkhand and a part of the Anantnag constituency in Jammu and Kashmir.

The fate of 961 candidates, including Union ministers Giriraj Singh, Subhash Bhamre, S S Ahluwalia and Babul Supriyo of the BJP and former Union ministers Salman Khurshid and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress, will be decided by about 12.79 core voters in this phase.

Among other vital contestants in the fray are Kanhaiya Kumar (CPI), Baijayant Panda (BJP), Urmila Matondkar (Congress), Dimple Yadav (SP), Satabdi Roy (TMC) and Milind Deora (Congress).

In Maharashtra, where the election will come to an end with this phase, the opposition Congress is facing a tough task of reclaiming its lost base in north Maharashtra and Mumbai, while the NCP is trying to get a foothold in Thane district and Western Maharashtra. The BJP and its ally Shiv Sena had won all 17 seats in 2014

In Rajasthan, the Congress appeared to make a comeback, forming the government in the state with a narrow majority after last year's Assembly polls.

In Uttar Pradesh, most of these 13 seats are seeing a direct fight between the BJP and SP-BSP alliance with Kannauj being a matter of prestige for the SP.

Electioneering had reached a feverish pitch for this phase in Odisha as a galaxy of leaders from parties such as the BJP, the Congress and the ruling BJD undertook tours of the constituencies.

In Bihar, the BJP and its allies are looking to retain all the five seats in the face of a spirited fight put up by the RJD-Congress alliance.

Monday's voting in three constituencies will be the first phase in the BJP-ruled Jharkhand.

In West Bengal, all the eight seats, which are spread across four districts, will see a four-cornered contest between Trinamool Congress, BJP, Congress and the Left Front.

Electioneering in Kulgam district, which is part of Anantnag LS constituency, remained by and large peaceful. Anantnag LS constituency is spread over four districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama with 16 assembly segments. The Lok Sabha polls to this constituency are being held in three phases due to security reasons.

In all the six seats in Madhya Pradesh, a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP is expected.

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