National Elections Phase 3: Key Constituencies
A total of 116 constituencies are going to the polls in phase three. Phase one and two of voting, accounting for 186 constituencies, took place on April 11th and 18th, respectively.
The general elections are approaching their midpoint with phase three of voting taking place on April 23rd. Phase one and two of voting, accounting for 186 constituencies, took place on April 11th and 18th, respectively. The elections will take place in seven phases with the last phase taking place on May 19th. Election results will be declared on May 23rd.
A total of 116 constituencies are going to the polls in phase three. However, some constituencies are more important than others. Here are some of the chief constituencies that are going to polls.
Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir
The parliamentary constituency is so security sensitive that the Election Commission (EC) decided to hold elections spread over three phases. The EC also issued a notification reducing the time for voting by two hours. The seat was won by PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti in 2014. The former chief minister of the state is standing again, as one of 18 candidates in the fray.
Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh
The constituency is a bastion of Samajwadi Party patriarch, Mulayam Singh Yadav. The seat has been represented by him since before the turn of the century. He held on to the seat in 2014, in the middle of the Modi wave that swept UP. He had then vacated the seat in favour of his grandson Tej Pratap Singh Yadav. This time, the seat has given back to Mulayam, who has already declared that this will be his last election.
Rampur is set to witness an interesting poll battle this time around between SP heavyweight Azam Khan and yesteryear actress and friend-turned-foe, Jaya Prada. Prada was earlier with the SP but left the party and has joined the BJP. The two have been engaged in a war of words after Khan made derogatory remarks against her. The EC has pulled up Khan for the remarks.
Firozabad is set to witness a prestige battle between members of the first family of the SP. The SP has fielded Akshay Yadav and against his estranged uncle, Shivpal Singh Yadav. Sensing an opportunity in this family squabble, the BJP has fielded an ayurvedic doctor, Chandra Sen Jadon. Known for his organisational skills, Shivpal had quit the party and launched his own after a falling out with Mulayam’s son, Akhilesh Yadav.
The seat is going to witness a triangular contest between three Yadavs. Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav is contesting on a Rashtriya Janata Dal ticket and is up against sitting MP and Jan Adhikar Party leader Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav and Janata Dal (United) nominee and Bihar minister, Dinesh Chandra Yadav. Sharad had lost the election from here as a JD (U) candidate in 2014 to then RJD candidate, Pappu.
The contest in Puri is different this time around because BJP spokesperson Sabhit Patra is fighting the election from here. The seat has turned into a battle of spokespersons with Patra being pitted against sitting lawmaker Pinaki Mishra, a spokesman of the Biju Janata Dal. The Congress has fielded its state unit media cell chairman and chief spokesman, Satya Prakash Nayak.
The BJP has fielded its national president Amit Shah from this seat. This is his first Lok Sabha election as a candidate. The seat has been previously represented by party stalwarts like former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former home minister Lal Krishan Advani. Advani had won the seat in 2014 but was denied the ticket this time. Shah is contesting against Congress leader and two-time MLA from Gandhinagar North, CJ Chavda.
In the sugar belt of Maharashtra, the constituency is witnessing a fight between NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s daughter and sitting MP, Supriya Sule against BJP candidate, Kanchan Kool. The constituency has been a Pawar stronghold for nearly half a century. In the run up to voting, there was some speculation that the BJP was tacitly helping Pawar when Prime Minister Narendra Modi skipped his rally there. The NCP is fighting the election in alliance with the Congress.
The seat was represented by Shiv Sena leader and Union minister Anant Geete in the outgoing Lok Sabha. Raigad saw a close contest in 2014 between the Shiv Sana and the NCP with a margin of victory being 2,110 votes. In 2019, the battle between the two parties could again be a neck-and-neck one. Geete is looking for a seventh straight term in the Lok Sabha and is up against former state NCP chief and former state minister, Sunil Tatkare.
This constituency was represented by the leader of the Opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge, in the outgoing Lok Sabha. The BJP seems to have taken a special interest in this seat and have made a lot of effort to unseat the Congress leader. The party has fielded former Congress MLA, Umesh Jadhav, against him. Kharge has represented the seat in two consecutive Lok Sabhas and is aiming for a third. He managed to win the seat in the middle of the Modi wave in 2014.
Uttara Kannada, Karnataka
The epicenter of the communal cauldron of the state, the constituency is represented by controversial and firebrand BJP leader and Union minister, Anant Kumar Hegde. He has represented the seat for five terms. He is being challenged by Anand Vasant Asnotikar, former state minister and Janata Dal (Secular) candidate, who is supported by the Congress.
The constituency shot into prominence after Congress President Rahul Gandhi decided to contest from there as his second seat, apart from Amethi. Following his decision, the BJP also changed it candidate from the constituency. They have fielded Tushar Vellapally from ally Bharath Dharma Jana Sena. Gandhi's main opponent is from the Communist Party of India.
The fight for the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat promises to be a nail-biting affair. Congress leader Sashi Tharoor is fighting to retain the seat but he is up against formidable opposition. He is up against Kummanam Rajasekharan from the BJP. The BJP is banking on perceived ground support for its Sabarimala campaign to expand its vote base, and open its account in Kerala. In 2014, Tharoor managed win the seat with a margin of 15, 000 votes. Will he retain the seat this time?