The battle has been joined.

Starting February 14, 650 assembly seats go to the polls in three phases in Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab and Uttaranchal.

Seven Assembly and five Lok Sabha bypolls are scheduled simultaneously.

The votes will be counted on February 24.

The outcome in India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh, with 403 constituencies, could well tell on the future of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government at the Centre.

Manipur and Punjab look poised for change. In the former, people will be stamping their choice after several months of political uncertainty and a widespread agitation against extending the Naga ceasefire to the state. In the latter, the Congress is much-too-close on its heels for the ruling Akali Dal's comfort.

February 14 will be historic for another reason: breaking in the virgin state of Uttaranchal.

Here, we bring you the issues and the personalities, the sound and the fury of elections, India-style.

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