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Lok Sabha elections 2019 | Sonia, Rahul, Rajnath: Stage set for high-profile contests

The constituencies which will go to polls on May 6 include Dhaurahra, Sitapur, Mohanlalganj (reserved), Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambi (reserved), Barabanki, Faizabad, Bahraich, Kaiserganj and Gonda.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 06, 2019 12:23 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal
Pankaj Jaiswal
Hindustan Times, Lukhnow
Sonia,Rahul,Rajnath
Gupta came to SP from BJP just before the polls, RK Singh Patel came from SP to BJP some time ago, while Bal Kumar Patel came from SP to Congress.(HT Photo)

The Lok Sabha elections in UP, which elects 80 members of Parliament, is past the half-way mark with 39 constituencies having already voted.

The constituencies which will go to polls on May 6 include Dhaurahra, Sitapur, Mohanlalganj (reserved), Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambi (reserved), Barabanki, Faizabad, Bahraich, Kaiserganj and Gonda.

The most high-profile of the electoral battles in the fifth phase involve Congress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and Union home minister Rajnath Singh contesting to retain their seats from Amethi, Rae Bareli, and Lucknow.

The fate of Congress candidate from Dhaurahra seat Jitin Prasada will be among the one of the most watched. This phase of polling will also decide the fate of two saffron-robed sitting women MPs from the state – Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti of the BJP from Fatehpur and Bahraich lawmaker Savitribai Phule – who switched over to the Congress.

Of the 14 constituencies which will go to polls on May 6, the Congress had won two in 2014. The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had drawn a blank in these 14 seats. The BJP which won 12 of these 14 seats in 2014 is facing a tough challenge from the BSPSP-RLD alliance this time.

In Amethi, Union minister Smriti Irani of the BJP is taking on Rahul Gandhi for the second time after she cut his victory margin in 2014. She had been preparing for it since she lost the contest to Gandhi in 2014. Unlike the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi is likely to have it easy in Rae Bareli. Barring Rae Bareli and Amethi, the contest in the other constituencies in the fifth phase are triangular with sitting BJP MPs against SP-BSP alliance and Congress contenders.

Faizabad Lok Sabha constituency, with Ayodhya as one of its Assembly segment too, is in this phase where BJP’s Lallu Singh is locked in a triangular contest with Congress candidate Nirmal Khatri who had won the seat in 2009 and the SP candidate Anand Sen.

Lucknow seat, from where Rajnath Singh is fighting the elections, is the only seat in Uttar Pradesh that the BJP has not lost in the last seven successive elections. The contest for this seat has normally been predictable although it becomes interesting because of the candidates rivals field. This time the Congress has fielded a seer, Acharya Pramod Krishnam, while the SP has put actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha’s wife Poonam Sinha in the fray.

One constituency in Bundelkhand region – Banda will also vote on May 6 with three heavyweights in the fray. All the three top candidates had earlier been MPs. Shayam Charan Gupta won the Banda seat in 2004 on SP ticket; RK Singh Patel became MP on SP ticket in 2009 from this seat, while Bal Kumar Patel (the brother of dacoit Dadua) had been SP MP from Mirzapur seat.

All three are turncoats. Gupta came to SP from BJP just before the polls, RK Singh Patel came from SP to BJP some time ago, while Bal Kumar Patel came from SP to Congress.

Tanuj Punia, the son of Congress senior leader and 2009 Lok Sabha poll winner from Barabanki PL Punia is contesting to win the seat back for the Congress.

Observers believe the fifth phase could see the closest poll battles in UP.

“This phase too seems to be in a neck and neck contest largely between BJP and gathbandhan. Barring Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli and Rajnath Singh in Lucknow, it could be anybody’s game. Only Sonia and Rajnath can be considered safe,” said Prof SK Dwivedi, a political analyst and the former head of the department of political science of Lucknow University.

First Published: May 06, 2019 10:56 IST

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