LS Polls 2024: Seats to watch out for in first phase of voting on April 19

8 Union ministers, two former CMs, one ex-governor in fray in first phase of LS Polls 2024

By Kaniza Garari  Published on  17 April 2024 7:00 AM GMT
LS Polls 2024: Seats to watch out for in first phase of voting on April 19

New Delhi/ Hyderabad: Eight Union ministers, two former chief ministers and one ex-governor are among those who are set to test their electoral fate in the first phase of elections on April 19.

The first phase of Lok Sabha seats will have voting for 102 seats across 21 states and union territories

Seats to watch out for:

Nagpur (Maharashtra) : Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari is seeking a hat-trick from the Nagpur seat. In 2014, he had defeated seven-time MP Vilas Muttemwar by a margin of 2.84 lakh votes and retained the seat in 2019 by defeating current Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole by 2.16 lakh votes.

Arunachal West: Union minister Kiren Rijiju is contesting from the Arunachal West seat. The 52-year-old has represented the constituency thrice since 2004. Rijiju's main rival is former chief minister and present president of Arunachal Pradesh Congress Nabam Tuki.

Diburgarh (Assam): Sarbanada Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, is seeking a return to Lok Sabha from Dibrugarh in Assam. Sonowal, a Rajya Sabha member, was fielded from Dibrugarh after Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Rameswar Teli, was not given a ticket.

Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh): The constituency is known for its intricate caste dynamics, is witnessing a three-cornered electoral battle, with Union minister Sanjeev Baliyan locked in competition against Samajwadi Party's Harindra Malik and BSP candidate Dara Singh Prajapati.

Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir): Jitendra Singh, a two-time parliamentarian and a junior minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet, is aiming for a hat-trick in Udhampur. The fight is BJP and INC as this constituency of J and K. There is anger due to the deprivation of their identity, status, land rights and lack of jobs. Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi had a massive rally in Udhampur and many senior leaders along with the BJP members from Gujarat have been in the area but the Congress rally also saw a massive crowd when addressed by actor and politician Raj Babbar. Udhampur to see a battle between BJP union minister Jitendra Singh and Congress Chaudhary Lal Singh. An independent candidate G M Saroori who was a former legislator is also contesting.

Matsya (Rajasthan): Bhupendra Yadav, Union minister and Rajya Sabha member who replaced sitting MP Balak Nath, is in a contest with sitting Congress MLA Lalit Yadav, who belongs to Matsya region of Alwar district in Rajasthan and enjoys the support of the Yadav community.

Bikaner (Rajasthan): Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal is pitted against former Congress minister Govind Ram Meghwl from Bikaner parliamentary seat in Rajasthan.

Churu (Rajasthan): The BJP stronghold of Churu, in northern Rajasthan, is readying for an interesting match between BJP candidate Devendra Jhajharia, a two-time Paralympic gold medallist javelin thrower, and Rahul Kaswan from the Congress. Kaswan is a turncoat who has made the fight for Churu interesting. The two-time left the BJP only in March after he was denied a ticket by the party.

Nilgiris (Tamil Nadu): The Nilgiris Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu is witnessing one of the keenly watched battles between A Raja, the incumbent DMK MP, and former telecom minister, and L Murugan of the BJP, who is the Union Minister of State for Fisheries. This will be the first time that Murugan, who was elected to Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, is contesting from here.

Sivaganga (Tamil Nadu): MP Karti Chidmabaram is aiming for a re-election from a seat his father won seven times, competing against BJP's T Devanathan Yadav and AIADMK's Xavier Dass.

Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu): Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai is set to take the ballot test in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore where she is pitted against DMK leader Ganapathy P Rajkumar and AIADMK's Singai Ramachandran.

Chennai South (Tamil Nadu): Tamilisai Soundararajan, who recently resigned as governor of Telangana and Lt Governor of Puducherry to return to active politics, is contesting from Chennai South Lok Sabha constituency. Daughter of veteran Congress leader Kumari Anantha, Soundararajan had contested 2019 Lok Sabha elections against DMK's Kanimozhi, but lost by a huge margin in Thoothukudi.

Thoothukkudi (Tamil Nadu): Kanimozhi is seeking a re-election from the seat. NDA ally Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) has fielded SDR Vijayaseelan and AIADMK has fielded R Sivasami Velumani from the constituency.

Chhindwara (Madhya Pradesh): Nakul Nath, son of Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, is seeking a re-election Chhindwara. The seat has remained firmly with Kamal Nath, who has won the seat nine times since 1980. In the 2019 polls, the BJP bagged 28 seats out of the state's 29, but missed out on picking Chhindwara, where Nakul beat the BJP's candidate by 37,536 votes to emerge as the lone Congress MP in the state.

West Tripura: Of the two Lok Sabha constituencies in Tripura, the seat of West Tripura that votes in the first phase on April 19 will see a high-voltage clash between former chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb and state Congress president Ashish Kumar Saha.

Kaliabor (Assam): Having won Lok Sabha elections twice since 2014 from Kaliabor constituency in Assam, Gaurav Gogoi, Congress' deputy leader in Lok Sabha and son of former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, finds himself as the new candidate in neighbouring Jorhat, where BJP's Topon Kumar Gogoi won in 2019. Gaurav Gogoi's shift to Jorhat came after the impact of delimitation exercise in his 2019 constituency, Kaliabor.

Inner Manipur: (Manipur) Manipur Law and Education Minister Basanta Kumar Singh is BJP's nominee for the Inner Manipur constituency and is pitted against JNU professor and Congress candidate Bimal Akoijam. Singh, who belongs to the Meiti community, is the son of Thounaojam Chaoba Singh who served as the Union Minister of State for sports, youth affairs, culture and food processing in the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The 18,000 displaced people will not be able to vote as the Supreme Court refused to entertain their plea saying that they have come ‘at the last minute’. Meanwhile, Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum have given a call to boycott voting. They are also complaining against the central forces that are deployed in the state. Union home minister Amit Shah in a rally on April 15 said that ‘peace is a priority in Manipur and appealed to people to give a third term to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’.

Bastar Chattisgarh: It’s a two-way fight between Congress and BJP in this scheduled tribe reserved seat of Bastar. Six time MLA from tribal area Kawasi Lakhma is the Congress candidate and BJP candidate is Mahesh Kashyap. Lakhma in his campaign has raised the issue of rising prices while Kashyap is talking about the development and the health care multi-speciality hospitals in the region. The seat in 2019 was won by Congress Deepak Baij. The constituency has 71 per cent scheduled tribe who are the active voters of the state. In the 2023, Assembly elections, BJP had a vote share of 45.4 percent, Congress 37.8 percent and others 3 percent.

Polling for the 543 seats for electing the 18th Lok Sabha will be held in seven phases. The votes will be counted on June 4.

(with inputs from PTI)

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