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Campaigning for the final phase of Lok Sabha elections ends, voting on June 1

NEW DELHI: The campaigning for the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha elections for those 57 seats where voting is on June 1 ended on Thursday evening. These include one Lok Sabha seat from the Union Territory of Chandigarh, all 13 seats in Punjab, four seats in Himachal Pradesh, 13 seats in Uttar Pradesh, nine seats in West Bengal, eight seats in Bihar, six seats in Odisha and three seats in Jharkhand. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contesting for the third consecutive time from Varanasi parliamentary constituency of Uttar Pradesh.

Voting has been done on 486 seats in 28 states and union territories of the country. Voting in the first six phases was 66.14 percent, 66.71, 65.68, 69.16, 62.2 and 63.36 percent respectively. Counting of votes will take place on June 4.

During the election campaign, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders led by Modi accused the Congress and the alliance of opposition parties , Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance  'INDIA'  of being corrupt, anti-Hindu, indulging in appeasement and dynastic politics.

The opposition parties are claiming that the BJP is anti-farmer, anti-youth and will change and abolish the Constitution if it wins the election.

At a rally in Odisha, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge also claimed that BJP leaders are trying to project Modi as the "eleventh incarnation" of Lord Vishnu, but the people of the country will not accept it.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Modi and accused him of lowering the dignity of the post of Prime Minister as well as public discourse by making "hate speeches" during the election campaign.

Appealing to the voters of Punjab, Singh claimed that it is only the Congress that can ensure a development-oriented progressive future where democracy and the Constitution will be protected.

 The senior Congress leader also accused the armed forces of imposing the Agneepath scheme and said, "BJP thinks that the value of patriotism, valor and service is only four years. This shows their fake nationalism."

Modi left for Kanyakumari on Thursday evening, where he will meditate at Swami Vivekananda's memorial till June 1. Modi has carried out 206 public relations programs, including rallies and road shows, since the Election Commission announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections on March 16.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is in power in Punjab, where AAP, a part of India, and the Congress are contesting separately. From Modi to Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states and senior BJP leaders arrived for campaigning in this state.

On behalf of the Congress, Kharge and party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi led the campaign. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who came out on interim bail in the excise policy case, also ran an aggressive campaign for the candidates of his party AAP along with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

The Prime Minister also spoke on issues of reservation, corruption and Ram temple at the rally organised in support of party candidates Anita Som Prakash from Hoshiarpur and Subhash Sharma from Anandpur Sahib.

In West Bengal, Modi on Tuesday held a rally in Kolkata in support of Kolkata North candidate Tapas Roy. Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also held rallies for party candidates in almost all the nine Lok Sabha constituencies.

 Mamata Banerjee on Thursday held a 12-km walk from Jadavpur area in the southern part of the city to Gopalnagar. Party leader Abhishek Banerjee also participated in two rallies on the last day of campaigning.

 During the election campaign, the BJP alleged that the Mamata government was involved in several scams related to coal and cattle smuggling, as well as irregularities in school teacher recruitment under the Trinamool-led government.

 The party also alleged that the state government was not implementing the Centre's welfare schemes and depriving the common people of their benefits.

 However, the Trinamool Congress continued to insist that the Centre was not releasing funds to the state.

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