New Delhi: Voting for Phase 4 of Lok Sabha Elections will begin at 7 AM on Monday. A total of 72 Lok Sabha constituencies spread over nine states, mostly in Hindi heartland, will go to polls today. More than 12.79 crore voters will decide the fate of 945 candidates in 17 seats in Maharashtra, 13 each in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, eight in West Bengal, six each in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, five in Bihar, three in Jharkhand. Besides, polling will also be held in the second of the three phases in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag constituency. According to the Election Commission of India, the polling will conclude at 6 pm, except for the sensitive regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and parts of Madhya Pradesh, where it will end at 4 pm.

The Election Commission has made elaborate security arrangements and has set up 1.40 lakh polling booths/stations.  In Maharashtra, a total of 33,314 polling stations have been set up across the 17 constituencies. Over 40,400 security personnel have been deployed in the metropolis for the smooth conduct of the polls, according to a statement issued by Mumbai Police. Anti-terror measures have also been put in place with personnel from Force One, Quick Response Teams, Assault Teams and Anti-Terrorism Cell being deployed in Mumbai.

Preparations are also in place for the fourth phase of polling in eight West Bengal Lok Sabha constituencies. The commission has deployed a total of 580 companies of central forces, to cover all the polling booths in the Lok Sabha constituencies to ensure free and fair polling. Besides general election observers and expenditure observers, the poll panel has for the first time deployed a special police observer and a special observer in the state. In Odisha, Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) has been deployed in the critical and sensitive booths. Besides, arrangements have also been made to webcast the polling process at 700 booths.  Over 60,000 polling personnel have been engaged to conduct polling on Monday.

72 constituencies, 9 states 

Maharashtra: 17 seats including Nandurbar, Dhule, Dindori, Nashik (North Maharashtra), Palghar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane, Mumbai-North, Mumbai-North West, Mumbai-North Central, Mumbai-North East, Mumbai-South and Mumbai-South Central in the Mumbai region, Maval and Shirur in Pune district, and Shirdi in Ahmednagar district will go to polls in Maharashtra. With this phase, the election will come to end in the state.

Rajasthan: In Rajasthan, polling will be held in 13 constituencies including Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Pali, Jodhpur, Barmer, Jalore, Udaipur, Banswara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Kota, Jhalawar-Baran.

Uttar Pradesh: Thirteen constituencies of politically crucial Uttar Pradesh will vote today. The seats which will go to polls are Shahjahanpur (SC), Kheri, Hardoi (SC), Misrikh (SC), Unnao, Farrukhabad, Etawah (SC), Kannauj, Kanpur, Akbarpur, Jalaun (SC), Jhansi and Hamirpur.

Bihar: Here polling will take place in Darbhanga, Ujjiarpur, Samastipur, Begusarai and Munger.  All eyes will be set on Begusarai seat from where CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar is pitted against Union Minister Giriraj Singh and RJD’s Tanveer Hassan. Several prominent Bollywood personalities including Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhaskar, and Prakash Raj have campaigned for the former JNU Students Union president.

Jharkhand: Three seats including Rajmahal, Dumka, and Godda will go to polls. Here, 59 candidates are in the fray.

West Bengal: Polling will be held in Baharampur, Bolpur, Birbhum, Ranaghat, Krishnanagar, Asansol, Burdwan East and Burdwan – Durgapur constituencies. Union Minister Babul Supriyo is contesting from Asansol seat against Trinamool Congress’ Moon Moon Sen.

Madhya Pradesh: In Madhya Pradesh, six seats — Sidhi, Shahdol, Jabalpur, Mandla, Balaghat and Chhindwara will go to polls where a total of 108 candidates are in the fray. Chhindwara will be keenly watched as CM Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath is contesting from the seat. The election is being seen as a test to Kamal Nath’s popularity.

Odisha: Six seats — Mayurbhanj, Balashore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapada, and Jagatsinghpur will go to polls in Odisha where 52 candidates are in the fray.  “Special attention will be given on Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency and additional police force has been deployed,” said Surendra Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer, Odisha. Former BJD leader and presently BJP vice president Baijayanta Panda is contesting from Kendrapada.

Jammu and Kashmir: Polling will also be held in Kulgam district, which is part of Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency. Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency is spread over four districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama with 16 assembly segments. The Lok Sabha polls to this constituency are being held in three phases due to security reasons.

Prominent candidates: 

Among key contestants in the fray are former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar (CPI), Baijayant Panda (BJP), Urmila Matondkar (Congress), Dimple Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Satabdi Roy (TMC) and Milind Deora (Congress) Union ministers Giriraj Singh, Subhash Bhamre, S S Ahluwalia and Babul Supriyo of the BJP, former Union ministers Salman Khurshid and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress.

The seven-phased Lok Sabha elections began on April 11. The first phase recorded 69.45 per cent voter turnout across the country. The second phase of polling which took place on April 18, recorded 69.43 per cent voting. The third phase of elections on April 23 witnessed a turnout of 66 per cent.