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LS polls 4th phase: Campaigning ends for remaining eight seats in MP; 74 candidates in fray

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NewsDrum Desk
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Bhopal, May 11 (PTI) The high-voltage campaigning for the remaining eight Lok Sabha constituencies in Madhya Pradesh which saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Congress’ Rahul Gandhi trading charges over the Constitution ended at 6 pm on Saturday.

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Of the 29 seats in MP, polling is over in 21 in the first three phases of the general elections. In these eight seats, 1.62 crore voters are eligible to seal the fate of 74 candidates in the fourth phase on May 13, said officials.

Voting will held between 7 am and 6 pm for which 18,007 polling stations have been set up in the ST-reserved constituencies of Ratlam, Dhar and Khargone, SC-reserved seats of Dewas and Ujjain, and Mandsaur, Indore and Khandwa. In all, MP has ten reserved seats.

The electioneering for the fourth phase gained momentum on May 6 with Gandhi launching an attack on PM Modi, alleging that he had made up his mind to scrap the Constitution to deprive the downtrodden of reservation.

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The next day, BJP’s star campaigner Modi addressed rallies in Khargone and Dhar. He said the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was striving to win over 400 seats to ensure that the Congress does not “re-introduce Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and put a lock on Ayodhya Ram temple”.

Modi also accused the Congress of spreading lies that the BJP would change the Constitution after getting 400-plus strength in the Lok Sabha.

The BJP latched on to the comment by Congress’ Ratlam candidate Kantilal Bhuria (73) that men with two wives would get Rs 2 lakh as financial aid under their Mahalaxmi scheme to give Rs 1 lakh annually to poor women if his party is voted to power. As the BJP sought action by the Election Commission against Bhuria, he claimed it was made in jest.

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In Indore, the ‘None Of The Above (NOTA)’ option unexpectedly hogged the limelight after the Congress candidate Akshay Bam withdrew his nomination at the last minute and joined the saffron party.

As Bam's move set the stage for a one-sided contest for BJP’s Shankar Lalwani, who won from Indore by nearly 5.4 lakh votes last time, the Congress urged voters to hit NOTA.

The eight constituencies, spread over 64 assembly segments in 15 districts in the state’s Malwa-Nimar region, voting in the fourth phase are considered the bastion of the BJP.

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MP Chief Minister Mohan Yadav and BJP state president VD Sharma were among many leaders who also drummed up support for the saffron party by holding rallies and roadshows.

MP Congress chief Jitu Patwari, senior party leader Digvijaya Singh and other leaders addressed public meetings to canvass for their party.

Earlier, 21 constituencies in MP voted in three phases on April 19, April 26 and May 7. Votes will be counted on June 4. PTI LAL NR

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