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Mamata, Opposition biggies question staggered LS polls in Bengal, UP and Bihar

Mamata, Opposition biggies question staggered LS polls in Bengal, UP and Bihar

New Delhi: A day after the announcement of 7-phase poll dates for Lok Sabha elections, the Opposition parties questioned the Election Commission's decision to spread Lok Sabha polls in the states of West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh over seven phases and alleged that voting has been staggered with a view to enabling extensive electioneering by the ruling NDA's start campaigner - Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday suggested that the long-drawn Lok Sabha election process was part of the BJP's "gameplan to disturb" her state.

Banerjee, also the state's ruling Trinamool Congress chief, said the list of candidates of her party will be released on Tuesday.

Notably, all the three states – Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh—will witness 7-phase polling.

In UP, 41 out of 80 seats (more than 50 per cent) have been squeezed into the last three stages of the election schedule, while the remaining 39 have been spread over four phases before the fasting month for Muslims start. Of them 14 will go to polls on the first day of Ramadan on May 6, another 14 on May 12 and the voting for the remaining 13 seats will be held on May 19.

In West Bengal, where the BJP has been trying to gain a foothold to compensate for the possible losses in north India, polling for 42 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases with 24 of them being scheduled for the last three phases (May 6, May 12 and May 19). Similarly, Bihar will see 21 out of a total of 40 seats going for polls in the last three phases during Ramadan.

"It is strange that the number of phases over which voting will be held in Bihar is the same as that of the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh where the number of seats is twice as many and in West Bengal too, which has only 42 seats, polling will be held in seven phases," RJD leader Shivanand Tiwary said.

Dhirendra Kumar

Dhirendra Kumar

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