India Lok Sabha election 2024 Phase 6: Who votes and what’s at stake?

Voters from eight states and union territories will cast their ballots to elect 58 MPs in the sixth phase of polling.

A couple take selfie after casting their votes in a polling station during the fifth round of multiphase national elections in Mumbai
A couple takes a selfie after casting their votes in a polling station during the fifth round of the multiphase national elections in Mumbai [Rajanish Kakade/AP Photo]

India’s staggered general election is heading towards its penultimate phase, with voters from eight states and federally-governed union territories poised to decide the fate of 889 candidates on May 25.

Among some prominent candidates, Kanhaiya Kumar, a former student leader and fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is challenging sitting MP Manoj Tiwari, regional Bhojpuri language cinema actor and singer, in the North East Delhi constituency, while Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan is seeking to enter the Lok Sabha, the lower House of Indian Parliament, from Sambalpur in the eastern state of Odisha.

The sixth phase will see all seven seats in the Indian capital region, a stronghold of the local governing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), go to polls. The first five phases – April 19April 26, May 7, May 13 and May 20 – saw voter turnouts of 66.1, 66.7, 61, 67.3 and 60.5 percent, respectively.

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), led by the main opposition Congress party, has promised to address the economic distress and lack of employment generation as it aims to challenge the electoral dominance of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Who is voting in the sixth phase?

Registered voters in the following six states and two union territories will cast their ballots for 58 seats:

  • Haryana: All 10 of the northern state’s constituencies
  • Jharkhand: Four of the eastern state’s 14 constituencies
  • Odisha: Six of the eastern state’s 21 constituencies
  • Uttar Pradesh: 14 of the northern state’s 80 constituencies
  • Bihar: Eight of the eastern state’s 40 constituencies
  • West Bengal: Eight of the eastern state’s 42 constituencies
  • Delhi: All seven National Capital Territory (NCT) constituencies
  • Jammu and Kashmir: Anantnag-Rajouri, one of the union territory’s five constituencies where polling was deferred from Phase 3 to Phase 6 due to weather conditions
India Phase 6
India Phase 6

What are some of the key constituencies?

New Delhi, North East Delhi (NCT): The battle for Delhi has gotten ugly with the region’s popular Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal unleashing a sharp attack on Modi after getting out of jail on bail in a corruption case. He has accused the BJP of using investigative agencies to frame him. A number of opposition leaders have either been jailed or are facing corruption cases. Kejriwal’s AAP has joined forces with the Congress to wrest the seven seats from the BJP.

It is going to be an uphill task for Congress candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, who lost to BJP’s Giriraj Singh in Bihar’s Begusarai in the 2019 elections, to defeat Tiwari – a two-time MP representing North East Delhi. In 2019, Tiwari defeated Congress stalwart and three-time Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit by a margin of more than 360,000 votes.

The BJP, which swept Delhi Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and 2019, has fielded Bansuri Swaraj, the 40-year-old daughter of former Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, for the New Delhi seat. She is being challenged by AAP’s Somnath Bharti.

Kurukshetra, Gurgaon and Karnal (Haryana): The BJP swept all the 10 seats in Haryana state, primarily an agricultural belt neighbouring Delhi, in 2019. But since then, the party has faced backlash from sections of the state, after cracking down on the 2021 farmers’ agitation. The Modi government, which promised to double farm income by 2022, has been accused of helping corporate groups at the expense of farmers. The BJP, which governs the state, has denied the accusations.

Leading industrialist Naveen Jindal is seeking election from Kurukshetra after switching from the Congress to the BJP. He lost the last two elections (2014 and 2019) to the BJP after previously representing the constituency for 10 years. BJP leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is contesting from Karnal against Congress’s Satpal Brahmachari, while the BJP’s Rao Inderjit Singh, a federal minister, is hoping to continue his victory run from Gurgaon – a satellite city on the outskirts of Delhi – with actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar of the Congress as the key challenger.

Anantnag-Rajouri (J&K): People’s Democratic Party leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is aiming to enter parliament from Anantnag-Rajouri. She is facing Mian Altaf Ahmad of the National Conference party.

Azamgarh, Sultanpur (Uttar Pradesh): Azamgarh in eastern Uttar Pradesh voted for the BJP in 2019, when Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua, a popular Bhojpuri actor, was elected. The Samajwadi Party, which is the main opposition party in the state, has fielded Dharmendra Yadav, nephew of former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. The constituency has in the past sent Mulayam and his son Akhilesh Yadav, also a former chief minister and the party chief, to parliament.

Tamluk (West Bengal): Abhijit Gangopadhyay, who resigned as a judge, is contesting the election on a BJP ticket from this constituency. He will be up against Debangshu Bhattacharya of the governing Trinamool Congress (TMC) party – a constituent of the INDIA alliance.

When does the voting start and end?

Voting will begin at 7am (01:30 GMT) and end at 6pm (12:30 GMT). Voters already in the queue by the time polls close will get to vote even if that means keeping polling stations open longer.

The seventh and final phase of the election will be held on June 1. Vote counting will be done on June 4 and results will likely be announced the same day.

Which parties rule the states being polled in the sixth phase?

  • The BJP governs Uttar Pradesh and Haryana outright and governs Bihar in an alliance.
  • Odisha is governed by the NDA-aligned Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
  • Jharkhand is governed by the INDIA alliance led by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
  • The TMC of INDIA has been governing West Bengal since 2011.
  • The AAP, a part of the INDIA alliance, rules Delhi.
  • Jammu and Kashmir is governed directly by the central government under Prime Minister Modi.

Who won these Lok Sabha seats in 2019?

In the last Lok Sabha elections, the Congress, parties now affiliated with the INDIA alliance and the constituents of the erstwhile Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won seven of the 58 seats to be decided on May 25.

The BJP and the NDA-allied parties won 42 of these seats.

The BJD won four of the seats in Odisha while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) won four seats in Uttar Pradesh.

How much of India has voted so far?

The first five phases of the Lok Sabha elections have already decided the fate of 429 MPs.

So far, voting has concluded for all seats in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Karnataka, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Telangana, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, and union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Ladakh, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.

Source: Al Jazeera