New Delhi: Voting began on Sunday across 59 Lok Sabha constituencies spread over seven states, largely in the Hindi heartland, as the sixth and penultimate round of the mega seven-phase electoral exercise kicked off.

A total electorate of 10.17 crore is eligible to exercise their franchise in this phase, which covers:

14 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh,

8 each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal

4 in Jharkhand

10 seats of Haryana

7 in Delhi

Prominent among the 879 candidates in this phase include three-time Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who faces state BJP chief Manoj Tiwari in Delhi North East, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav from Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh against BJP's Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in Bhopal, former cricketer Gautam Gambhir (BJP) is contesting against AAP's Atishi in East Delhi and Olympian boxer Vijendra Singh (Congress) is the fray from South Delhi.

Also contesting are Union Ministers Maneka Gandhi, from UP's Sultanpur, Radha Mohan Singh from Bihar's East Champaran, Harsh Vardhan from Delhi's Chandni Chowk and Rao Inderjeet Singh from Gurugram, Congress' General Secretary (West UP) Jyotiraditya Scindia from Madhya Pradesh's Guna, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda from Sonipat while Bengali film hero Deepak Adhikari 'Dev' (Trinamool Congress) will lock horns with the BJP's Bharati Ghosh, a former IPS officer and once a trusted lieutenant of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in Ghatal.

The seven-phase Lok Sabha elections started on April 11 and would conclude on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23. (PTI inputs)

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