World Bulletin / News Desk
India’s national election will enter its ninth and final phase of voting when three states go to the polls for 41 parliamentary seats on Monday.
The world’s biggest and longest running democratic election for India’s lower house of parliament will come to an end after voting takes place in 41 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, India’s biggest and most populous state, Bihar and West Bengal
The last and the most crucial phase of the six-week long national election will see political heavyweights like the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi take on popular anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal in the town of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. However, the Congress party’s vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, held a massive roadshow in support of the party’s candidate, Ajay Rai, Saturday, the last day of campaigning.
Meanwhile, Election Commission officials have raided the Bharatiya Janata Party office in Varanasi seizing election campaign material. The raid comes days after a major standoff between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the election watchdog after the latter accused commission of being “biased”.
Elsewhere three polling booths in Muzzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh will hold fresh polls after complaints of irregularities were received from a regional party candidate.
There are over nine million registered voters in the final phase of voting in India’s national election spread across 18 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, 6 constituencies in Bihar and 17 constituencies in West Bengal.
The national election witnessed a record voter turnout of 66 percent in the earlier eight phases breaking the previous record in the 1984 election when the country recorded a turnout of 66 percent voting.
The election result will be declared Friday May 16 when a single-day pan-India counting session is scheduled to take place.
"DANGER TO THE COUNTRY"
Varanasi's Muslim population is solidly against Modi because of memories of sectarian riots in Gujarat in 2002, in which more than 1,000 people were killed, most of them Muslims. Modi denies wrongdoing, and a probe ordered by the Supreme Court has found no case for him to answer.
"We can never forget or forgive Narendra Modi for his role in the Gujarat riots against the Muslims. We recognise himonly as a perpetrator of the riots and as a danger to the country," said Mohammad Sabir Falahi, head of the Varanasi branch of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, a Muslim community group.
But the anti-Modi vote in Varanasi is split between Congress and anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the Aam Aadmi, or Common Man, party. One local poll published by the India Today media group gave Modi 56 percent of the vote in the city, with the Congress candidate a distant second.Last Mod: 12 Mayıs 2014, 12:26