Grant of special category status for the state, construction of capital Amaravati, major projects like Polavaram, were among the issues raised in the campaign.
High-decibel campaigning for 91 Lok Sabha constituencies in 18 states and two Union Territories going to polls on April 11 ended Tuesday, with rivals plunging headlong into the hurly burly of electioneering and engaging in no holds barred attacks. The Lok Sabha polls will be held in seven-phases for 543 seats on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19, and counting will be on May 23. In Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha, assembly polls to 175, 32 and 28 seats, respectively, will be held simultaneously in the first phase. For the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah led the campaign in several states, while for the Congress it was Rahul Gandhi. Elections for all 25 Lok Sabha and 175 assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh will be held simultaneously on April 11. TDP president and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s campaign was centered around the “evil trio” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.
The YSRC chief urged people that he be given “one chance” to usher in a “welfare state” modelled on the lines of his late father Y S Rajasekhara Reddys administration. The third player in the current elections is actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan of the Jana Sena. Grant of special category status for the state, construction of capital Amaravati, major projects like Polavaram, were among the issues raised in the campaign.
In Telangana, elections will be held on all 17 seats in the first phase.The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti is hoping to sweep the polls in alliance with Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM, who is aiming for a fourth consecutive win from the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat. The Nizamabad constituency will be in focus as over 170 farmers are in the fray. TRS supremo and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K Kavitha is seeking re-election from this seat. Other prominent candidates are Congress leader Renuka Chowdary (Khammam) and state Congress president Uttam Kumar Reddy.
In eight western Uttar Pradesh constituencies the ruling BJP will clash with the newly-formed SP-BSP-RLD alliance. In the 2014, the BJP won all the seats — Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar.But in a by-election last year, it lost Kairana to a joint opposition candidate. In Muzaffarnagar, RLD chief Ajit Singh will take on BJP’s Sanjeev Balyan. His son Jayant Chaudhary is fielded against Union minister Satyapal Singh in Baghpat.
Union ministers V K Singh and Mahesh Sharma are BJP candidates in Ghaziabad and Guatam Budh Nagar, respectively. Polling in Uttarkhand’s five Lok Sabha seats will be completed on April 11. The BJP had won all the seats in 2014. Prominent candidates from the Congress include Pritam Singh (Tehri), former CM Harish Rawat (Nainital) and senior BJP leader BC Khanduri’s son Manish Khanduri from Pauri. Interesting contests are expected in Tehri, where BJP has pitted twice MP Mala Rajya Lakshmi Shah against Pritam Singh, in Nanital where its senior leader Ajay Bhatt, who is making his poll debut, is pitted against Harish Rawat.
In Odisha four Lok Sabha and 28 assembly seats, including several naxal-hit areas, are going to polls. The first phase polling will decide the fate of 26 Lok Sabha candidates and 191 assembly nominees. In the North East, campaigning for Tezpur, Kaliabor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur constituencies in Assam has ended and fate of 41 candidates will be decided.
Lakhimpur has the highest number of 11 candidates. Seven seats in Maharashtra, four in Bihar and two each in West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and Arunahcal Pradesh will see polling in the first phase. Lone Lok Sabha seats going to polls on April 11 include Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, Chhattisgarh Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshadweep.