Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 22
The third phase of the mammoth general elections will see 117 constituencies across 13 states and two union territories vote on Tuesday.
Among the 1,640 candidates who will battle it out are national presidents of two main national parties—the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.
This will be BJP president Amit Shah’s first Lok Sabha election. Shah, who's contesting from Gandhinagar—a seat previously represented by BJP stalwart LK Advani—is a political veteran who was previously Gujarat’s home minister until he shot to the national political scene after Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in 2014. Congress president Rahul Gandhi meanwhile has chosen to contest from two seats this time—his traditional Amethi and Kerala’s Wayanad.
Assam (4), Bihar (5) Chhattisgarh (7), Goa (2) Gujarat (26), Jammu and Kashmir (1) Karnataka (14), Kerala (20) Maharashtra (14) Odisha (6) Tripura (1) Uttar Pradesh (10) West Bengal (5) Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1) Daman and Diu (1) will vote on Monday.
Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag is polling in three phases: third, fourth and fifth—the only such constituency in the country to do so. Anantnag district will vote on Tuesday, Kulgam on April 29, and Shopian and Pulwama on May 6.
Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency, where elections were cancelled in Phase 2, will also be vote on Monday.
Also on the list are Kerala, Gujarat and Goa—states that were on the extreme ends of the spectrum in 2014 general elections. BJP holds no parliamentary seat in Kerala, but swept Gujarat—the home state of both BJP behemoths Narendra Modi and Amit Shah—and won both seats in Goa.
For Goa, however, these elections are different—it’s the first one after the recent passing of its former chief minister Manohar Parrikar.
At stake on Tuesday are BJP’s 62, Congress party’s 16, not to mention those of regional parties—PDP(1), BJD (6), CPM (8), NCP (4), Samajwadi Party (3), Shiv Sena (2), RJD (2), AIUDF (2), IUML (2), LJP (1), RSP (1), Kerala Congress-M (1), CPI (1), Swabhimani Paksha (1) and Trinamool Congress (1).
Another party that has a lot at stake on Tuesday is the Samajwadi Party. Four members of party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family are in the fray. Mulayam Singh will fight to keep Mainpuri—a seat he won in 2014—while his two nephews, Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav, will do the same with Badaun and Firozabad.
Contesting against Akshay Yadav is Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav.
Another hotly contested seat is Ramnagar, where controversial SP leader Azam Khan will face off against his former protégée Jaya Prada, a BJP candidate.
Besides these, Moradabad, Sambhal, Etah, Aonla, Bareilly and Pilibhit will go to polls on Tuesday. The BJP won seven of these 10 seats in 2014—including Pilibhit where Rahul Gandhi’s cousin Varun Gandhi will now contest instead of his union minister mother Maneka Gandhi, who had moved to Sultanpur.
In Thiruvananthpuram Lok Sabha constituency where two-time Congress MP Shashi Tharoor is pitted against BJP's Kummanam Rajasekharan and CPI’s C Divakaranm.
In the temple town of Puri, BJP's much vocal spokesperson Sambit Patra is contesting against sitting MP Pinaki Mishra of the Biju Janata Dal.
In Assam’s Gauhati, the two top contenders are women—Queen Ojha of the BJP against Bobbeta Sharma of the Congress. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur are voters here.
In Bihar’s Madhepura, Rashtriya Janata Dal Member of Parliament Pappu Yadav is locked in a triangular contest against Janata Dal (United) rebel Sharad Yadav and BJP’s Vijay Kumar Singh.
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