NEW DELHI: The Hindi heartland, at the heart of the BJP’s spectacular win in 2014, is voting in the fourth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections today. The BJP and its allies had won 56 of the 72 seats up for grabs – an impressive strike rate of 77 per cent but an equally large score to defend. From more than half-a-dozen union ministers to movie stars – there are several high-profile; contenders whose fortunes will be decided today.
- More than 12 crore people across nine states are eligible to vote – among them, a large swathe of Hindi-speaking India. The BJP had done astonishingly well in the last elections here. And if it wants to come back, it can’t afford to lose too many of these seats.
- With this phase, elections are beginning in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan – some of the BJP’s strongest backers in 2014 which turned to Congress in state elections held last year. Usually, if national polls are held within one year of state polls, the same party plays the favourites’ But some factors have been known to break this trend.
- This is the last round of voting in Maharashtra where 17 seats ; are polling today including six in Mumbai – the country’s business and entertainment capital. And all of them are geared for appropriately eye-catching contests. Voting’ also ends in Odisha where the BJP hopes have made up for losses in other states.
- Along with several big names, this phase also has highest proportion of candidates with criminal cases against them, the most number of crorepatis and women candidates. See complete list here
- Top; contenders in this round include Kanhaiya Kumar (CPI), Giriraj Singh (BJP), Dimple Yadav (SP), Salman Khurshid (Congress), Sakshi Maharaj (BJP), Milind Deora- (Congress), Poonam Mahajan (BJP), Priya Dutt (Congress), Babul Supriyo (BJP), S S Ahluwalia (BJP), Moon Moon Sen (Trinamool Congress), Manvendra Singh (Congress), Dushyant Singh (BJP), Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (BJP) and Jay Panda (BJP). Track all the big battles here