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A look at key candidates, battlegrounds in Phase 7 of Lok Sabha polls

First Published: 1st June, 2024 10:29 IST

Prime Minister Modi, who is eyeing a third term, is the BJP's candidate from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, a seat he won in the 2014 and 2019 polls.

As the six-week-long electoral exercise of the Lok Sabha elections is set to conclude on Saturday, here is a look at the key candidates who are contesting in the seventh phase:

Prime Minister Modi, who is eyeing a third term, is the BJP’s candidate from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, a seat he won in the 2014 and 2019 polls. This time, the INDIA bloc has fielded UP Congress chief Ajay Rai against the BJP’s most prominent candidate.

Anurag Thakur, Information and Broadcasting minister, who also holds the sports portfolio, is contesting from Himachal Pradesh’s Hamirpur seat, which he has won four times in a row is up against former Congress MLA Satpal Raizada.

Kangana Ranaut is making her election debut from Himachal’s Mandi, a seat currently held by Pratibha Singh, state Congress chief. This time, Pratibha Singh’s son and state minister Vikramaditya Singh is the Congress’s candidate in the high-profile contest.

Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and No. 2 in Trinamool Congress, Abhishek Banerjee is contesting from Diamond Harbour, a seat he has won twice is up against the CPM’s Pratikur Rahaman and BJP’s Abhijit Das in this Lok Sabha contest.

Misa Bharti, Rajya Sabha MP and eldest daughter of RJD patriarch Lalu Prasad Yadav, is contesting from Bihar’s Pataliputra Lok Sabha seat this time as INDIA Opposition bloc’s candidate and is up against BJP’s Ram Kripal Yadav, who won in 2014 and 2019.

Actor-turned-politician Ravi Kishan is contesting from Gorakhpur, a BJP stronghold and has been with the party for over three decades now and is up against Samajwadi Party’s Kajal Nishad.
Bhojpuri star Pawan Singh, after withdrawing from Asansol, contests as an independent against NDA candidate Upendra Kushwaha in Bihar’s Karakat.

BJP replaced two-time MP Kirron Kher with Sanjay Tandon in Chandigarh. Congress nominee and former Union minister Manish Tewari, backed by AAP, stands against him.
Afzal Ansari, now representing the Samajwadi Party, aims to retain Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur seat he won in 2019. BJP fielded Parasnath Rai, while BSP’s Umesh Kumar Singh adds a triangular dimension to the contest.
Former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad seeks re-election from BJP stronghold – Patna Sahib in Bihar. He faces a challenge from Congress candidate Anshul Abhijeet, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.
Here is look at some of the key contests in the seventh phase.
Chandigarh: The capital city of Punjab and Haryana is seeing a face-off between BJP’s Sanjay Tandon and former Union Minister Manish Tewari of Congress. Tewari is a sitting MP from Anandpur Sahib. AAP is supporting Congress on this seat. BJP replaced actor-turned-politician Kiron Kher, who had won the seat in the 2014 and 2019 elections.
West Bengal: Nine of the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state will go to the polls in the final phase.
1. Dum Dum: Sitting MP Sougata Ray of the Trinamool Congress is facing Sujan Chakraborty of CPI(M) and Shilbhadra Dutta from BJP.
2. Barasat: Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamool Congress is battling Sanjib Chatterjee from AIFB, and BJP candidate Swapan Majumder.
3. Basirhat: The seat has gained a lot of prominence as BJP has fielded Rekha Patra, a woman who filed a complaint in the Sandeshkhali sexual assault case. Trinamool Congress has fielded veteran Haji Nurul Islam.
4. Jaynagar: BJP’s Ashok Kandary is fighting against Pratima Mondal, sitting MP of Trinamool Congress. RSP’s Samarendra Nath Mandal and Niranjan Naskar from SUCI(C) are also in the fray.
5. Mathurapur: Bapi Halder of AITC is contesting against Sarat Chandra Halder of CPI(M), and Ashok Pukait of BJP. In 2019, Chaudhary Mohan Jatua of TMC won the seat.
6. Diamond Harbour: In this strategic stronghold of the Trinamool Congress, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, a two-time MP, is in a three-way contest with CPI(M)’s Pratikur Rahaman and Abhijit Das of the BJP.
7. Jadavpur: The Left Front has nominated Srijan Bhattacharya, a leader of the Students Federation of India, as its candidate from this Lok Sabha constituency. He is facing Saayoni Ghosh of the TMC and Anirban Ganguly of the BJP. Actor Mimi Chakraborty of TMC had won this seat in 2019. Incidentally, Mamata Banerjee had defeated CPI (M) veteran Somnath Chatterjee from this seat in 1984.
8. Kolkata Dakshin: Mala Roy of the TMC is pitted against Debasree Chaudhuri of the BJP and Firoza Khatun of the BSP. Trinamool Congress won the seat in 2014 and 2019.
9. Kolkata Uttar: Sudip Bandhopadhyay of the Trinamool Congress is facing Tapas Roy of the BJP and Pradip Bhattacharya of the Congress.
BIHAR: The BJP is contesting five of eight seats in this phase with its allies contesting the rest. From INDIA bloc, Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) and the CPI-ML are contesting from three seats each, while the Congress from two.
1. Nalanda: Kaushlendra Kumar is contesting on JD(U) ticket against Sandeep Sourav of CPI(ML). Kumar had earlier won this seat in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
2. Patna Sahib: BJP MP and former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is facing a challenge from Anshul Abhijit of Congress. Abhijit is the son of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.
3. Pataliputra: Misa Bharti, daughter of RJD chief Lalu Prasad is contesting against incumbent Ram Kripal Yadav of BJP. Yadav defeated Bharti in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
4. Arrah: BJP has reposed its faith in its sitting MP and Union Minister Raj Kumar Singh. He is pitted against against Sudama Prasad of CPI(ML).
5. Buxar: BJP has replaced its sitting MP and Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Chaubey and fielded Mithilesh Kumar Tiwary. RJD has fielded former Bihar Agriculture Minister Sudhakar Singh. Both Singh and Tiwary are contesting Lok Sabha elections for the first time.
6. Sasaram: Congress has fielded Manoj Kumar while BJP has fielded Shivesh Ram replacing its sitting MP Chhedi Paswan.
7. Karakat: RLM chief Upendra Kushwaha is contesting against Raja Ram Singh of CPI(ML). Famous Bhojpuri singer Pawan Singh is contesting as an Independent from this seat, making the electoral battle triangular.
8. Jahanabad: In Jehanabad, JD(U) has fielded sitting party MP Chandeshwar Prasad Chandrawanshi while RJD has fielded former Bihar Minister Surendra Yadav. Prasad had defeated Yadav in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Himachal Pradesh: The state is witnessing a keen contest with the BJP seeking to replicate the results of the 2019 polls and the Congress seeking to wrest seats.
1. Kangra: Former Union Minister Anand Sharma is pitted against BJP’s sitting MP Kishan Kapoor, who had set a record by securing the highest-ever 72.02 per cent votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, winning the elections with a margin of 4,77,623 votes.
2. Mandi: Actor Kangana Ranaut is making her electoral debut on a BJP ticket and is facing a tough fight from Himachal Minister Vikramaditya Singh. The seat is held by his mother Pratibha Singh who won it in a bypoll.
3. Hamirpur: Union Minister Anurag Thakur of the BJP is facing Satpal Singh Raizada of the Congress. Thakur first became an MP from Hamirpur in 2008 after his father’s resignation and then went on to win the seat in the 2009, 2014 and 2019 elections.
4. Shimla: BJP’s sitting MP Suresh Kumar Kashyap is facing Vinod Sultanpuri of the Congress in this seat. Kashyap became an MP from Shimla after winning the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, securing 606,182 votes. He defeated Dhani Ram Shandil of Congress.
Jharkhand: The election campaign in the state has witnessed charges and counter-charges between the BJP-led NDA and the members of INDIA alliance.
1. Rajmahal: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha incumbent MP Vijay Kumar Hansda is eyeing a third successive term. He is facing BJP’s Tala Marandi from this constituency. Rajmahal is the only Lok Sabha seat in Jharkhand which is held by JMM. Hasdak won and became MP from this seat last Lok Sabha elections. Borio MLA Lobin Hembrom is contesting as an independent.
2. Dumka: This constituency will witness an electoral battle between members of the Soren family. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Sita Soren – daughter-in-law of Shibu Soren agaisnt Nalin Soren, a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) veteran and six-time MLA. Amid turmoil within the Soren family in recent years, the unexpected move of Sita Soren to join the BJP in March to challenge her own family came as a surprise. In the 2019 elections, BJP’s Sunil Soren won and JMM Shibu Soren came in second place.
3. Godda: Incumbent MP Nishikant Dubey, who emerged as BJP’s poster boy for leading attacks on the Soren family over alleged corruption and land deals, will be eyeing another term from this seat. He is facing Pradeep Yadav of the Congress.
Odisha: The state is expected to face a triangular contest on some seats in this phase.
1. Mayurbhanj: Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bishweswar Tudu is the incumbent MP and the ticket this time has gone to Naba Charan Majhi. Biju Janata Dal has fielded Sudam Marndi and JMM has given the ticket to Anjani Soren.
2. Balasore: This constituency is set to witness a triangular fight between three major parties. Pratap Chandra Sarangi from the BJP is in the electoral fray against Congress’ Srikant Kumar Jena and BJD’s Lekhasri Samantasinghar. In the 2019 general election, BJP candidate Pratap Chandra Sarangi triumphed over BJD candidate Rabindra Kumar Jena.
3. Bhadrak: BJP has fielded Avimanyu Sethi while Congress has fielded Anant Prasad Sethi and BJD has given the ticket to Manju Lata Mandal who had won in 2019.
4. Jajpur: BJP has fielded Rabindra Narayan Behera while Congress has fielded Anchal Das. BJD has retained sitting MP Sarmistha Sethi from this constituency.
5. Kendrapara: BJP has fielded Baijayant Panda while the Congress has chosen to go with Sidharth Swarup Das. BJD has fielded Anshuman Mohanty. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Anubhav Mohanty of the BJD emerged victorious, defeating BJP’s Baijayant Panda.
6. Jagatsinghpur: BJP has fielded Bibhu Prasad Tarai., Congress has given the ticket to Rabindra Kumar Sethy and BJD has gone with Rajashree Mallick.
PUNJAB: The constituencies in the state are witnessing multi-cornered contests as there are no major alliances for Lok Sabha polls.
1. Gurdaspur: The sitting MP Sunny Deol of BJP is not contesting this time and BJP has gone with former Sujanpur MLA Dinesh Singh Babbu. Sukhjinder Randhawa, a former deputy chief minister, is the Congress candidate. Aam Aadmi Party has nominated its sitting MLA from Batala, Amansher Singh (Shery Kalsi), Shiromani Akali Dal has gone with senior leader Daljit Singh Cheema.
2. Amritsar: India’s former envoy to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu (BJP) is pitted against MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla, the sitting MP of Congress. Other candidates in the fray are SAD’s Anil Joshi while Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Kuldeep Dhaliwal, a minister in the Punjab Cabinet.
3. Khadoor Sahib: Congress has fielded Kulbir Singh Zira from the reserved seat, and AAP has gone with Laljit Singh Bhullar. BJP has given ticket to Manjeet Singh Mianwind. Jailed pro-Khalistani separatist Amritpal Singh is also in the fray from the seat.
4. Jalandhar: AAP’s Pawan Kumar Tinu, Former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, BJP’s Sushil Kumar Rinku, and Akali Dal’s Mohinder Singh Kaypee will contest elections from the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat.
5. Hoshiarpur: Congress has fielded Yamini Gomar from this reserved constituency. BJP has given the ticket to Anita Som Prakash, while AAP has gone with Dr Raj Kumar Chabbewal.
6. Anandpur Sahib: BJP has fielded Dr Subhash Sharma from the seat. Sharma is facing Congress nominee Vijay Inder Singla, AAP’s Malvinder Singh Kang and Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) Prem Singh Chandumajra are also in the fray.
7. Ludhiana: The seat is witnessing a multi-cornered contest among the Bharatiya Janata Party leader and two-time Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, Punjab Congress Chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashok Parashar Pappi. Shiromani Akali Dal has fielded Ranjit Singh Dhillon.
8. Fatehgarh Sahib: In this reserved constituency, the BJP has fielded Gejja Ram, the Congress has fielded Amar Singh and the AAP has given the ticket to Gurpreet Singh.
9. Faridkot: BJP candidate Hans Raj Hans is up against Congress’ Amarjit Kaur Sahoke, Aam Aadmi Party’s Karamjit Singh Anmol and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Rajwinder Singh Dharamkot.
10. Firozpur: For Congress, Sher Singh Ghubaya is contesting again from the constituency, BJP has fielded Gurmit Singh Sodhi, and AAP is going with Jagdeep Singh Kaka Brar.
11. Bathinda: Key candidates for the Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency include Harsimrat Kaur Badal (SAD), Jeet Mohinder Singh (Congress), Gurmeet Singh Khudian (AAP) and former IAS officer Parampal Kaur Sidhu from the BJP.
12. Sangrur: Shiromani Akali Dal has fielded Iqbal Singh Jhundan. Simranjit Singh Mann is the SAD (A) candidate while the BJP has nominated Arvind Khanna. Congress has decided to go with Sukhpal Singh Khaira while the AAP has chosen Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer.
13. Patiala: Former union minister Preneet Kaur, who is the wife of former Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh, is the BJP candidate. The Congress has fielded Dr Dharamvir Gandhi, a former AAP MP. Dr Balbir Singh is the AAP candidate.
Uttar Pradesh: A few seats are expected to see multi-cornered contests with BJP keen to give a strong performance.
1. Maharajganj: Six-time MP and Union Minister of State for Finance, Pankaj Chaudhary is BJP’s candidate, and will take on Congress’ Virendra Chaudhary, who is a first-time MLA. BSP has fielded Mo Mausme Alam as its candidate for this seat.
2. Gorakhpur: Actor and politician Ravi Kishan is the BJP candidate for this seat and he is pitted against Samajwadi Party’s Kajal Nishad. In 2019, Kishan defeated SP candidate Rambhual Nishad.
3. Kushi Nagar: BJP’s Vijay Kumar Dubey, the sitting MP, is contesting against SP’s Ajay Pratap. BSP has fielded Shubhnarayan Chauhant. Swami Prasad Maurya is also contesting polls as the Rashtriya Shoshit Samaj Party candidate.
4. Deoria: Shashank Mani of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Sandesh of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and Akhilesh Pratap Singh of the Indian National Congress (INC) are in the fray. In the 2019 general elections, Ramapati Ram Tripathi of BJP emerged victorious from the seat.
5. Bansgaon: Kamlesh Paswan, the sitting MP, is the BJP candidate from the seat and is pitted against Congress’ Sadal Prasad.
6. Ghosi: BSP’s Bal Krishna, SP’s Rajeev Kumar Rai, and Arvind Rajbhar of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) are among the prominent candidates.
7. Salempur: BJP’s sitting MP Ravindra Kushwaha is pitted against Bhim Rajbhar of the BSP, and Ramashankar from the SP.
8. Ballia: BJP’s Neeraj Shekhar, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Lallan Singh Yadav, and Sanatan Pandey of the Samajwadi Party (SP) are among the list of prominent candidates from the seat.
9. Ghazipur: Pars Nath Rai of BJP is taking on BSP’s Umesh Kumar Singh, and Afzal Ansari of SP. In the 2019 general elections, Afzal Ansari won the seat on the BSP ticket by defeating BJP’s Manoj Sinha.
10. Chandauli: BJP has again fielded sitting MP Mahendra Nath Pandey to contest from this parliamentary seat. He is pitted against Virendra Singh of the Samajwadi Party and Satyendra of the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP).
11. Varanasi: PM Modi is contesting from the seat for the third time. Congress has again fielded Ajay Rai and Athar Jamal Lari is the BSP candidate. PM Modi won the constituency with a resounding margin in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
12. Mirzapur: Union Minister Anupriya Patel is Apna Dal (Soneylal)’s candidate for the seat. The BJP-led NDA candidate is pitted against Manish Kumar of Bahujan Samaj Party and Rajendra S Bind from Samajwadi Party.
13. Robertsganj – Apna Dal (S), which has been winning the seat for the last two general elections, has fielded Rinki Singh, an MLA from Chhanbe in Mirzapur. Samajwadi Party (SP) has fielded BJP rebel Chhotelal Kharwar, while Dhaneshwar is contesting on Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) ticket.
Over 10.06 crore electors will be eligible to exercise their franchise across nearly 1.09 lakh polling stations in the seventh phase with around 10.9 lakh polling officials on duty to ensure smooth polls.
Of the 10.06 crore electors, about 5.24 crore are male, 4.82 crore are female and 3,574 electors belong to the third gender.
With the world’s largest polling marathon drawing to a close on Saturday, all eyes will be on results to be declared on June 4.
The elections, held in seven phases, from April 19 saw people exercising their democratic rights even as temperatures rose in peak summer. The Election Commission made special efforts to ensure large participation of people in the elections. (ANI)

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