Campaign for final phase ends today

Campaign for final phase ends today

The high-decibel election campaign that witnessed acrimonious exchanges will finally culminate in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur on Monday evening.

The Opposition parties are hoping for a result that will catapult their stocks to a new high to take on the Narendra Modi government.

However, Modi and the BJP are not leaving any stone unturned. The prime minister is camping in Varanasi, his Parliamentary constituency, and nearby seats, which are going to polls in the seventh and last phase in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. The second phase of polling in Manipur is also on the same day.

Varanasi will be the cynosure of all eyes on Monday, with top leaders of all the parties, including Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati, camping in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

The country was on election mode since the first week of January after the Election Commission announced the dates for polls to five states from February 4 to March 8.
The last ballot in this edition of polls will be cast on March 9, as polls to two constituencies in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh were postponed due to the death of candidates. Counting will be held on March 11.

While Goa and Punjab voted on February 4, Uttarakhand went to polls on February 15. Polling in Uttar Pradesh was spread over seven phases, beginning February 11 and ending on March 8. Manipur voted on March 4 in the first phase.
 
The campaign saw Modi and Rahul criss-crossing the five states, while Akhilesh and Mayawati concentrated their efforts in Uttar Pradesh, where poll pundits are not willing to predict the outcome.

Several said it would be a hung Assembly, while acknowledging that the BJP had a late surge.

The results of Uttar Pradesh will have a bearing on national politics as a defeat would make things difficult for the BJP.

A not-so-impressive result will also have an effect on the Presidential election, leaving the saffron party with less bargaining power.

The results are also keenly awaited in Punjab, where the Akali Dal-BJP combine is up against the anti-incumbency of a 10-year rule and intensive campaigning by the Congress and AAP.

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