Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha election 2024 is underway across the country today. Voters across 57 Lok Sabha constituencies are exercising their franchise across eight states and UTs.

A total of 904 candidates are contesting in the last phase of the election. Of the total candidates, 328 are from Punjab, 144 from Uttar Pradesh, 134 from Bihar, 66 from Odisha, 52 from Jharkhand, 37 from Himachal Pradesh, and four from Chandigarh.

As per the Election Commission guidelines, voting commenced for all seats at 7 am, and will come to an end at 6 pm.

Key candidates in the fray

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is crossing swords with Congress leader Ajay Rai in Varanasi in the last phase of the elections. The former won from the Varanasi seat in 2014 and 2019. The top saffron leader is now eyeing his third term from the seat. Ajay Rai previously used to be a BJP leader, but joined Congress in 2012.

The saffron party has fielded actress Kangana Ranaut from the Mandi seat in Himachal Pradesh. Ranaut is locking horns with Congress candidate Vikramaditya Singh.

Actor and politician Ravi Kishan is BJP’s nominee from the Gorakhpur seat in Uttar Pradesh. He is crossing swords with Samajwadi Party’s candidate Kajal Nishad.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur is BJP’s candidate from the Hamirpur constituency in Himachal Pradesh. He is contesting against Congress candidate Satpal Singh Raizada.

Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress candidate Abhishek Banerjee is in the fray from West Bengal’s Diamond Harbour. The seat is a strategic stronghold for TMC. The seat is witnessing a three-corner fight between Abhishek, CPI (M)’s Pratikur Rahaman and Abhijit Das of the BJP.

Charanjit Singh Channi, the Congress party, is fighting against AAP candidate Pawan Kumar Tinu and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate Mohinder Singh Kaypee from the Jalandhar seat.

SAD’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal is fielded from Punjab’s Bhatinda Lok Sabha constituency. The constituency is witnessing a four-cornered battle with Congress candidate Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu AAP’s Gurmeet Singh Khudian and BJP’s Parampal Kaur Sidhu being in the fray. 

Currently represented by BJP’s Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Balasore is set for a triangular contest. The saffron party has once again fielded Sarangi from Balaosore against BJD’s Lekhashree Samantsinghar and Congress’ Srikant Kumar Jena.

BJP’s National Vice-President Baijayant Panda is fighting against BJD nominee Anshuman Mohanty in Kendrapara. Congress has nominated Sidharth Swarup Das.

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