A total of 72 constituencies spread across nine states are going to polls in the fourth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. The stakes are high for the ruling BJP and its allies as it had swept 56 of these seats in 2014.
Polling is currently underway for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha election in 72 constituencies spread across nine states — Maharashtra (17 seats including 6 from Mumbai), Rajasthan (13), Uttar Pradesh (13), West Bengal (8), Madhya Pradesh (6), Odisha (6), Bihar (5), Jharkhand (3) and a part of the Anantnag constituency in Jammu and Kashmir.
The stakes are high for the ruling BJP and its allies as it had swept 56 of these seats in 2014. A total of 12.79 core voters will exercise their franchise in the fourth phase to seal the fate of 961 candidates. This includes Union ministers Giriraj Singh, Subhash Bhamre, SS Ahluwalia and Babul Supriyo of the BJP and former Union ministers Salman Khurshid and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress. Congress leaders Milind Deora and Urmila Matondkar are also in the fray.
In Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav is contesting against sitting MP and Union minister of state Gajendra Singh Shekhawat from Jodhpur constituency. In Uttar Pradesh, polling is being held across 13 seats where the direct fight is between the BJP and SP-BSP combine. Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav is seeking re-election from Kannauj parliamentary seat. The fight here has become a matter of prestige for the Samajwadi Party.
In Bihar, the BJP is looking to retain all the five seats along with its allies. All eyes are set on Begusarai which is witnessing an electrifying contest between BJP’s Giriraj Singh and CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar who was co-accused in 2016 JNU sedition case.
Here we take a look at the key candidates who are in the fray in the fourth phase:
Maval: Shrirang Barne (Shiv Sena) | Parth Ajit Pawar (NCP)
The primary fight on the Maval parliamentary seat in Maharashtra is between Shrirang Barne of Shiv Sena and Parth Ajit Pawar. Barne is seeking a second term from the seat which he won by a margin of over 1.5 lakh seats in 2014. On the other hand, Parth Pawar will be hoping to take forward the legacy of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar. Parth, 29, is former state deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s son and Sharad Pawar’s grand nephew. Parth, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Mumbai University, has declared assets worth Rs 20 crore in his election affidavit.
Kendrapara: Anubhav Mohanty (BJD) | Dharanidhar Nayak (Congress) | Baijayant Panda (BJP)
There’s a three-cornered fight on Odisha’s Kendrapada Lok Sabha constituency between Anubhav Mohanty of the Biju Janata Dal, Dharanidhar Nayak of the Congress and Baijayant Panda of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The seat was won by Baijayant Panda in 2014. He was a BJD candidate then. Panda had defeated Congress’s Dharanidhar Nayak by over two lakh votes in the last general elections.
Jodhpur: Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (BJP) | Vaibhav Gehlot (Congress)
The contest on the Jodhpur Lok Sabha constituency has gained much importance as Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav is in the fray against Bharatiya Janata Party’s Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who is the sitting MP from the seat. Shekhawat, who is Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, had defeated Congress candidate Chandresh Kumari by over four lakh votes in 2014. Ashok Gehlot has been campaigning hard in Jodhpur to ensure his son’s victory. The BJP has alleged that government machinery is being misused in Jodhpur, a charge rejected by the Congress.
Barmer: Manvendra Singh (Congress) | Kailash Chaudhry (BJP)
Barmer is the largest Lok Sabha constituency after Ladakh in terms of area and the main contest here is between Manvendra Singh of the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kailash Chaudhary. In 2014, Colonel (retired) Sona Ram Choudhary had won on BJP ticket defeating Jaswant Singh who contested as an independent candidate after the BJP denied him a ticket. Choudhary, who has won from Barmer thrice, was defeated by Manvendra, Jaswant Singh’s son, in 2004 Lok Sabha election.
Farrukhabad: Manoj Agarwal (BSP) | Salman Khursheed (Congress) | Mukesh Rajpoot (BJP)
The Farrukhabad Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh is witnessing an interesting battle between Bharatiya Janata Party’s Mukesh Rajpoot, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Manoj Agarwal and Congress’ Salman Khursheed. While Rajpoot is the sitting MP, veteran Congress leader Salman Khursheed had won the seat in 2009 defeating Naresh Chandra Agarwal who was in the BSP then.
Kannauj: Subrat Pathak (BJP) | Dimple Yadav (SP)
Kannauj is considered to be the bastion of the Samajwadi Party. Dimple Yadav, wife of Samajwadi Party chief and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, is contesting against Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate Subrat Pathak. In 2014, Pathak had given Dimple a tough fight as the winning margin was less than 20,000 thousand votes. Can Dimple Yadav protect Samajwadi Party’s citadel this time?
Asansol: Biswarup Mondal (Congress) | Gouranga Chatterjee (CPI-M) | Babul Supriyo (BJP) | Sreemati Dev Varma alias Moon Moon Sen (TMC)
Asansol was one of the two seats that the Bharatiya Janata Party had won in West Bengal in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. While sitting MP BJP’s Babul Supriyo is leaving no stones unturned to retain the seat, Trinamool Congress has fielded actor-turned-politician Sreemati Dev Varma alias Moon Moon Sen to spice up the contest. Others in the fray are Congress’ Biswarup Mondal and CPI-M’s Gouranga Chatterjee. Moon Moon Sen, who had won the 2014 polls from Bankura, was upset at Mamata Banerjee’s decision to change her seat, however, she has been campaigning hard in Asansol hoping to give a tough fight to Babul Supriyo.
Birbhum: Rezaul Karim (CPI-M) | Imam Hossain (Congress) | Satabdi Roy (TMC) | Dudh Kumar Mondal (BJP)
The Trinamool Congress has reposed its faith in sitting MP Satabdi Roy on Birbhum seat. Roy is up against Bharatiya Janata Party’s Dudh Kumar Mondal, Imam Hossain of the Congress. The CPI-M has fielded Rezaul Karim from the constituency. If Satabdi Roy manages to win 2019 poll, this will be her third consecutive win from Birbhum seat.
Begusarai: Giriaraj Singh (BJP) | Kanhaiya Kumar (CPI) | Tanveer Hassan (RJD)
In Bihar, a total of five seats are going to polls in the fourth phase. However, all eyes are set on Begusarai seat which is witnessing an electrifying contest between the political Left and the Right with CPI debutante Kanhaiya Kumar taking on firebrand BJP leader Giriraj Singh. Kanhaiya Kumar was a co-accused in 2016 JNU sedition case. The RJD has fielded Tanveer Hassan, hoping to stump Singh and Kumar. While the BJP and its allies are looking to retain all the five seats, it is facing a stiff challenge from the spirited fight put up by the RJD-Congress combine which is banking heavily on caste arithmetic.
Mumbai North-Central: Poonam Mahajan (BJP) | Priya Dutt (Congress)
The BJP has fielded its sitting MP Poonam Mahajan from Mumbai North Central seat. Poonam is daughter of later BJP leader Pramod Mahajan. The Congress has given ticket to Sunil Dutt’s daughter Priya Dutt from here, hoping she will repeat her 2009 performance. Dutt had defeated BJP’s Mahesh Ram Jethmalani by nearly 1.50 lakh votes. While the BJP and Shiv Sena are contesting elections together, the Congress and NCP have joined the ranks in Maharashtra.
Mumbai North: Gopal Chinayya Shetty (BJP) | Urmila Matondkar (Congress)
In Mumbai North constituency, the BJP has fielded its heavyweight Gopal Shetty. The Congress, on the other hand, has given ticket to actress Urmila Matondhar who joined the party recently. In 2014, Shetty had defeated Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam by nearly 3.50 lakh votes. This time, the BSP also in the fray, fielding Manojkumar Jayprakash Singh.
Chhindwara: Natthan Shah (BJP) | Nakul Nath (Congress)
Nakul Nath is son of Congress leader and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. He is seeking election from here. Barring 1997, the Congress has won every election from Chhindwara. Chhindwara is considered Kamal Nath’s stronghold. He has won from here nine times. The BJP has fielded Natthan Shah against Nakul.
Darbhanga: Gopal Ji Thakur (BJP) | Abdul Bari Siddiqui (RJD)
Darbhanga is one of the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar. The eastern state has 40 seats. In 2014, BJP’s Kirti Azad had defeated RJD’s Ali Asraf Fatmi by nearly 35,000 votes. This time, the BJP has fielded Gopal Thakur from here. Azad quit the BJP and joined the Congress recently. The Congress has fielded him from Dhanbad Lok Sabha seat. On the other hand, the RJD has fielded its Muslim face Abdul Bari Siddiqui.