New Delhi: Campaigning came to an end on Saturday in 71 constituencies spread over nine states, mostly in the Hindi heartland, which will go to the polls on Monday in the fourth phase of the mega seven-phase electoral exercise.
Since poll timings vary in different seats, the campaigning period also ended at different times between 4 p.m and 6 p.m., 48 hours before the voting closure time at each constituency.
The 48-hour period preceding the conclusion of voting is called the "silence period" during which any kind of political campaigning is prohibited.
As the silence period began, election rallies and street corner meetings ended in 17 constituencies in Maharashtra, 13 each in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, eight in West Bengal, six in Madhya Pradesh, six in Odisha, five in Bihar and three in Jharkhand.
While campaigning ended at 6 p.m. in all seats going to polls in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Maharashtra and Bihar, it ended at 4 p.m. in the three Jharkhand constituencies.
In Madhya Pradesh, while it ended at 6 p.m. in the Sidhi, Shahdol, Jabalpur, Mandla and Chhindwara constituencies, it ended at different times between 4 and 6 p.m. in different Assembly segments of the Balaghat parliamentary constituency owing to security reasons.
In this phase, the BJP would be defending 45 of the 71 seats it won in 2014 Lok Sabha elections -- all the 13 in Rajasthan, 12 in Uttar Pradesh, five in Madhya Pradesh, three in Bihar, three in Jharkhand, eight in Maharashtra and one in West Bengal.
In Maharashtra, all the remaining nine were won by Shiv Sena and in Bihar, the remaining two seats were bagged by Bharatiya Janata Party's ally Lok Janshakti Party. The Congress had bagged only two -- one in Madhya Pradesh and one in West Bengal.
Among other parties, the Biju Janata Dal won all six in Odisha, the Trinamool Congress six in West Bengal and the Samajwadi Party one in Uttar Pradesh.