Campaigning ended on Tuesday for the second phase of Lok Sabha polls on April 18 for 96 seats spread across 12 states and the union territory of Puducherry that was marked by acrimony with the Election Commission barring several leaders from electioneering for their controversial remarks.
Polling will be held in 38 seats in Tamil Nadu, 14 seats in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, three each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one seat each in Manipura, Tripura and Puducherry.
Elections will also be held in 35 assembly constituencies in Odisha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and a host of union ministers among others canvassed for their party candidates in the past few days, undertaking whirlwind tours of constituencies.
Among the key contestants in the fray are Union ministers Jual Oram, Sadananda Gowda and Pon Radhakrishnan, former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, Congress leaders Verappa Moily and Raj Babbar, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, BJP's Hema Malini and DMK's Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja and Kanimozhi.
After the Election Commission on Monday barred Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Union minister Maneka Gandhi, BSP chief Mayawati and SP leader Azam Khan from campaigning for varying periods over violations of the moral code of conduct, the leaders stayed away from the campaign but marked their presence in other ways.
Mayawati's nephew Akash Anand delivered his first political speech in Nagina, where she was initially scheduled to address a joint opposition alliance meeting. Khan's son Abdullah addressed a press conference in Rampur, criticising the EC order while Adityanath prayed at a Hanuman temple in Lucknow, a day after the EC issued the order frowning at his 'Ali-Bajrang Bali' remark.
CNBC-TV18 spoke with experts to analyse the key battles and issues dominating the political discourse in these states.(With inputs from PTI)