Lok Sabha elections 2019: Heavyweights in the fray as poll battle focus shifts to eastern UP
Uttar Pradesh, which elects 80 Lok Sabha members to the Parliament, will see polling in 14 constituencies, including the ones above, in the fifth phase of the ongoing general elections.Updated: May 06, 2019, 08:38 IST
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and union home minister Rajnath Singh are some of the political heavyweights who will contest on May 6 to retain their seats in Amethi, Rae Bareli and Lucknow, respectively.
Uttar Pradesh, which elects 80 Lok Sabha members to the Parliament, will see polling in 14 constituencies, including the ones above, in the fifth phase of the ongoing general elections. The state has already voted for 39 seats in the previous four phases.
Of the 14, Mohanlalganj and Kaushambi are reserved seats.
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Among the most watched political contests is Dhaurahara, where Congress’ Jitin Prasada will face incumbent Rekha Verma, of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Arshad Siddiqui.
Savitribai Phule, the sitting MP of Bahraich left the BJP in December 2018, and recently joined the Congress. She will face Shabbir Ahmad Balmiki of BSP, whom she defeated by a margin of over 95,000 votes in 2014.
Among the 14 seats that will poll on Monday, Congress won two in 2014, while Samajwadi Party and BSP — who are now in an alliance — didn’t win any.
In Amethi, union minister Smriti Irani from the BJP will take on Rahul Gandhi. She had lost the contest in 2014. Sonia Gandhi, who has been winning her seat since 2004, is expected to win this time, too. The Congress has won this seat 19 times in all (including bypolls).
Most of the fifth phase constituency contests are triangular—between the sitting BJP MPs, the gathbandhan (SP-BSP) candidates and Congress contenders.
In Faizabad constituency, in which Ayodhya is one of the assembly segments, BJP’s Lallu Singh faces Congress candidate Nirmal Khatri who had won the seat in 2009 and SP’s Anand Sen.
Last week, the prime minister held a rally in Ayodhya district — his first since he assumed office — on the same day as BSP Supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, held theirs close-by. Rahul Gandhi too, held a rally in the neighbouring district. Modi avoided mentioning the controversial Ram Temple issue and stayed away from the disputed site where the BJP has for long promised to build a grand temple. The site is where the Babri Masjid, a 16th century mosque, stood until it was demolished 28 years ago by Hindu karsevaks (volunteers) who believe it marks the birthplace of Hindu god, Ram.
Lucknow is the only seat that the BJP has not lost in last seven successive elections. Singh, the incumbent, faces seer Acharya Pramod Krishnam from Congress, and Poonam Sinha, as the alliance candidate. Sinha is the wife of MP Shatrughan Sinha, who switched from the BJP to Congress recently.
Political analyst Prof SK Dwivedi from Lucknow University said, “This phase seems to be in a neck and neck contest between BJP and the gathbandhan. Barring Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli and Rajnath Singh in Lucknow — the only ones who are safe — it could be anybody’s game.”