New Delhi: The star contestants on Monday are Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal and Mulayam Singh Yadav. Kejriwal is contesting to prove a point rather than winning while Mulayam and Modi have a stake at the Centre. A slip in Modiâ€™s tally is good news for Mulayam, while a slide in Mulayamâ€™s party is good news for Modi. Mulayam and Modi both could not realise their dreams; one will go down while the other will emerge the winner. Mondayâ€™s contest will decide whether Delhi will have a secular government or a Modi government.
It is also the biggest phase of polling in both UP and West Bengal. The 18 constituencies constitute what is called Poorvanchal. BJP won four in 2009, including Varanasi. The ruling Samajwadi Party holds six seats, the BSP five and the Congress three. UP sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha and is crucial for the BJP in its attempt to unseat the Congress which has ruled at the Centre for the last decade.
In West Bengal, 14 of the 17 constituencies polling on Monday are held by the Trinamool Congress of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Banerjee reacted sharply last week to the allegation of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi that she could forge a post-election alliance with Modi, against whom she launched a massive tirade in the latter part of her campaign.
The BJP, led by Modi, is widely seen as headed towards winning the most number of seats, but it is not clear whether it will land a majority with its existing allies. Banerjee hopes to register a big win in West Bengal that she can leverage to play a leading role in government formation at the Centre.
An average of 66% voted in the last eight phases, a record turnout that has surpassed the previous 66.27% voting record in 1984. The 2009 elections recorded a 57.94% turnout.