The sixth phase of the Lok Sabha election, in 117 constituencies in 11 States and one Union Territory, will be held on Thursday.
It is an interesting contest for more than one reason. The standing of two Chief Ministers, Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee, and four former Chief Ministers, Mulayam Singh, M. Karunanidhi, Shibu Soren and Babulal Marandi, is at stake.
Tamil Nadu will see the most fascinating fight, where all 39 constituencies go to the polls. The BJP, which has succeeded in forging a six-party alliance in the State, is trying to make its presence felt. The pan-India appeal of Narendra Modi will be tested in the State. In the outgoing Lok Sabha, the DMK has 18 seats and AIADMK nine.
Another important contest is in Maharashtra, where polling will be held for 19 seats, including six in Mumbai, all of them held by the Congress and its ally, the NCP.
The Congress faces an acid test in West Bengal as it fought the 2009 poll as an alliance partner of the Trinamool Congress. Five of the six seats going to the polls — Raiganj, Maldaha Uttar, Maldaha Dakshin, Jangipur and Murshidabad — are held by the Congress.
In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, polling will be held in 12 and seven seats, respectively. The fourth phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh will decide the fate of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh (Mainpuri) and his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav (Kannauj).
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj faces her test in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh. Four constituencies will go to the polls in the third and last phase of election in Jharkhand.
Of the 117 seats, the Congress holds 37 and the BJP 24 at present.