5 key constituencies of Uttar Pradesh in phase 7 of the Lok Sabha elections
In Uttar Pradesh, 13 seats will go to the polls, with bigwigs like Narendra Modi, Union Ministers like Anupriya Patel, Manoj Sinha and state BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey in the fray.
900 million voters, 543 constituencies, 29 states, and 7 union territories. The mammoth Indian elections will finally come to an end in a week's time. But, before the final leg on May 19th - when 59 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across eight states will vote – the campaign has reached a fever pitch.
This could be the most important phase of the elections for the ruling BJP, as the party has to protect itself from the onslaught of the Grand Alliance in UP and Bihar, but also maximise its gains in states like Jharkhand and West Bengal.
In Uttar Pradesh, 13 seats will go to polls, with bigwigs like Narendra Modi, Union Ministers like Anupriya Patel, Manoj Sinha and state BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey in the fray.
Here are the five key constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.
1. Varanasi: This will be one of the most watched constituencies in this phase. Prime Minister Modi won this seat with a margin of more than 3.5 lakh votes last time, defeating his nearest rival AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal.
The seat has traditionally been a BJP stronghold; except in 2004, the party has not lost this seat since 1991.
There were speculations that Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi will take on the PM from this seat, but the party repeated the five-time MLA Ajay Rai.
The SP had decided to back ex-BSF soldier Tej Bahadur Yadav from this seat but was forced to field Shalini Yadav after his candidature was rejected by the Election Commission.
2. Gorakhpur: When the bypolls were held to this seat in 2018, nobody guessed that it would write a script for the coalition of arch-rivals SP and BSP.
This seat has been the BJP’s stronghold since 1989. Yogi Adityanath won this seat five times till he became the CM of Uttar Pradesh in 2017. In 2018, the SP’s Praveen Kumar Nishad, backed by the BSP, won this seat, defeating the BJP’s candidate by nearly 20,000 votes.
This time, the BJP seems confident, as it has fielded Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan. The party also managed to bring back Nishad into the fold.
The SP has fielded Ram Bhuwal Nishad from this party, whereas the Congress has fielded Madhusudhan Tripathi.
3. Mirzapur: The contest for this seat is as thrilling as the Mirzapur web series. The Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel is up against the might of the Mahagathbandhan. Apna Dal (Sonelal) is an ally of the BJP.
This seat is one of the Congress’s best bets with Priyanka Gandhi drumming up support for its candidate, Lalitesh Pati Tripathi.
The SP has fielded Ram Charitra Nishad from this seat.
4. Ghazipur: This is another seat of prestige for the BJP as Union Minister of Communications and minister of state for Railways, Manoj Sinha faces a tough challenge. Dalits, Yadavs, and Muslims make up for more than 50 % of the voters in the seat.
The Mahagathbandhan has fielded the brother of controversial leader, Mukhtar Ansari of the Quami Ekta Dal as its candidate.
5. Ghosi: The seat of Ghosi throws up an interesting challenge for the Mahagathbandhan. Its candidate Atul Rai has gone missing! Fielded by the BSP, Rai has a rape case filed against him and his anticipatory bail has been rejected by the court. As a result of this legal conundrum, he has decided to disappear.
The BJP was able to win this seat for the first time in 2014, thanks to the ‘Modi wave’. Harinarayan Rajbhar won this seat in a multi-cornered contest against candidates of the SP, BSP and Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal.
But, this time, the situation is different as the SP and BSP are in a coalition and Ansari is no longer in the fray.
The results for the polls will be announced on May 23rd. Watch this space for more election-related coverage.