Fifty-one Lok Sabha constituencies across seven states will vote in the fifth phase of the elections on Monday. Parts of Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal will vote in this phase.
There are 674 contenders in the fray this time. About 12% of candidates contesting in the fifth phase of elections are women – the highest so far. According to the Election Commission, this is the smallest of the seven phases in terms of the number of seats.
Four phases of voting are already over. The first phase of polls was held on April 11 and had a voter turnout of over 69% while the second phase, conducted on April 18, recorded an overall voting percentage of 68%. The third phase, held on April 23, recorded saw 66.04% of voters turning up while the fourth phase on April 29 recorded a voting percentage of 64%.
Five constituencies – Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Muzaffarpur, Saran and Hajipur – will vote in this phase. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the National Democratic Alliance had won all these five seats. The grand alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha Secular and Vikassheel Insaan Party will contest against the NDA this time.
Muzaffarpur is an important seat. Here, Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insaan Party has fielded Raj Bhusgan Choudhary Nishad. He will take on BJP’s sitting MP Ajay Nishad. The Lok Sabha seat is dominated by the Mallah caste.
In the Madhubani Lok Sabha seat, the BJP is looking to score a hat-trick. The party has fielded Ashok Yadav, son of four-time BJP MP Hukmdev Narayan Yadav. He will be contesting against Congress’ ally Vikassheel Insaan Party candidate Badri Purbe and rebel Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad who is contesting as an independent. Close to 35% of the population in Madhubani comprises Brahmins. The Muslims make up 19% and the Nishad 10%.
Jammu and Kashmir
The Anantnag Parliamentary constituency – which is voting in three phases – will go to polls for the third time on Monday. Voting stations part of Anantnag district voted on April 23 and those in Kulgam district voted on April 29. The remaining polling stations in Shopian and Pulwama districts will vote on Monday.
The Peoples Democratic Party has fielded its president Mehbooba Mufti from Anantnag. The Congress and the National Conference are in a “friendly contest” here. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had said a “friendly contest” means that there will be no “cut-throat contest” between the two parties. “If either party wins, it is a win-win situation for both of us,” he had said.
Ghulam Ahmad Mir is the Congress’ candidate while the National Conference has fielded Hasnain Masoodi. The BJP has fielded Sofi Mohammad Yousuf from Anantnag. In 2014, Mehbooba Mufti had won this seat, defeating National Conference candidate Mehboob Beigh.
In the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat, the authorities have set up 559 polling stations to hold voting smoothly. There are only four candidates in the fray here. Rigzin Spalbar is contesting on a Congress ticket, while Jamyang Tsering Namgyal is the BJP nominee. There are two independent candidates – Asgar Ali Karbalai and Sajjad Hussain.
In 2014, Thupstan Chhewang of the BJP had won the seat by a thin margin of 36 votes. But he quit the saffron party in 2018.
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Four seats will vote on Monday. These are Koderma, Ranchi, Khunti and Hazaribagh. Currently, the BJP holds all four seats. Besides Hazaribagh, the BJP has not fielded a sitting MP.
In Ranchi, there will be three main contenders. The seat is currently represented by Ram Tahal Choudhary who quit the BJP in April after businessman Sanjay Seth was given the ticket. Choudhary is contesting as an independent candidate this time. The Congress has fielded former Union Minister of Tourism Subodh Kant Sahay.
The Kurmi OBC caste is likely to play a decisive role in deciding this seat. As a leader of this caste, Choudhary has a huge voter base and is likely to eat into the BJP nominee’s votes.
In 2014, Choudhary had defeated Congress’ Sahay by nearly two lakh votes.
In Hazaribagh, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha is seeking to be re-elected. Just days before the elections, Sinha told the BBC that he and members of the BJP had given financial aid to persons accused in a lynching case in Jharkhand to help them pay their legal fees. Sinha was clarifying his stance after he was criticised for garlanding the men accused of lynching cattle trader Alimuddin Ansari in Jharkhand in 2017.
Jayant Sinha will be contesting against Congress’ Gopal Sahu and Communist Party of India veteran Bhuneshwar Prasad Mehta. Hazaribagh has been a stronghold of the BJP, and the saffron party is likely to retain this seat.
In 2014, Jayant Sinha had defeated Congress’ Saurabh Narayan Singh by a margin of 1.5 lakh votes.
Seven seats will vote on Monday. These are Betul, Damoh, Hoshangabad, Khajuraho, Rewa, Satna and Tikamgarh.
Rewa is an important seat in this phase, where there are three main candidates. The BJP has fielded its sitting MP Janardan Mishra once again, while the Congress is pinning its hopes on Siddharth Tiwari. The CPI(M) has fielded Girijesh Singh Sengar.
In 2014, BJP’s Janardhan Mishra had defeated Congress’ Sunderlal Tiwari by a margin of 1.6 lakh votes.
Another important constituency is Satna. A BJP bastion, Satna has consistently voted for the saffron party since 1998. The BJP has fielded its sitting MP Ganesh Singh against Congress’ Raja Ram Tripathi. Keeping in mind the relatively narrow victory margin in 2014, the Congress is hoping to wrest the seat.
In 2014, BJP’s Ganesh Singh had defeated Ajay Singh Rahul Bhaiyya of the Congress by a margin of 8,688 votes.
Of the twelve seats that will vote on Monday, the important ones include Alwar and Dausa.
Alwar was in the news due to several incidents of alleged mob lynchings and cow vigilantism. The BJP has fielded religious leader Balak Nath against Congress leader and former Union minister Jitendra Singh. Nath is likely to consolidate the BJP’s core voter base in the region.
In 2014, the BJP’s Chand Nath, also a religious leader, had defeated Congress candidate Bhanwar Jitendra Singh. Chand Nath died in 2017.
In the Dausa seat, it is a fight between two women candidates. While the BJP has fielded Jas Kaur Meena, who was a minister of state in late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Cabinet, Congress is pinning its hopes on Savita Meena, the wife of sitting Dausa MLA Murari Lal Meena.
Apart from the dominating Meena community, Brahmins, Dalits and Gujjars play significant roles here. Local issues like scarcity of drinking water and unemployment usually take a back seat in this constituency, where voting has a strong caste base.
In 2014, BJP’s Harish Chandra Meena had won the seat.
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Fourteen of the 80 seats will vote in this phase. In 2014, BJP had swept this central region winning 12 seats while the Congress had retained Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Gandhi family strongholds. Of these 14 seats, Amethi, Rae Bareli and Lucknow are the most talked about ones. This phase is crucial for the Congress as fate of several of its leaders, including party president Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, will be decided today.
In 2014, Gandhi had defeated BJP’s Smriti Irani by over 1 lakh votes. BSP candidate Dharmendra Pratap Singh had finished third. This time, it is a direct contest between Rahul Gandhi and Smriti Irani.
In Rae Bareli, Sonia Gandhi will contest against former Congress leader Dinesh Pratap Singh who is fighting this time on a BJP ticket. In 2014, she had won with a margin of over 3.5 lakh votes against BJP’s Ajay Agrawal.
In Lucknow, Union Home Minister and BJP leader Rajnath Singh is seeking a re-election. He is contesting against Samajwadi Party’s Poonam Sinha, wife of former BJP leader who is now in the Congress, Shatrughan Sinha.
Seven seats – Bongaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uleberia, Sreerampur, Hooghly and Arambag – will vote in this phase. Due to violence during earlier rounds of voting in West Bengal, the Election Commission decided to replace state police personnel with central forces inside all polling booths in the state this time.
The Barrackpore constituency is an important seat. Sitting MP Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress is seeking a third consecutive term here. He will be contesting against CPI(M)’s Gargi Chatterjee. The Congress has fielded Mohammad Alam while the BJP’s candidate is Arjun Singh. The seat had been a stronghold for CPI(M) till 2009 when Trivedi defeated six-time MP Tarin Baran Topdar. Since then Trivedi has represented the constituency in the Lok Sabha.
In the Serampore seat, it is a multi-cornered fight. Sitting MP Kalyan Banerjee of the TMC is seeking re-election and the CPI(M) has fielded Tirthankar Roy against him. The Congress named Debabrata Biswas its candidate while the BJP’s nominee is Debjit Sarkar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi triggered a controversy during his rally in Serampore last week. Modi had said, “When the results are out on May 23, lotus will bloom everywhere [a reference to the BJP’s party symbol] and your legislators will also abandon you. Even today, 40 of your [Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s] MLAs are in touch with me.” The TMC had filed a complaint against him with the Election Commission. The party had demanded that Modi provide an explanation for his comment, failing which his nomination should be cancelled.
Here is a state-wise list of constituencies that will vote on May 6:
Bihar: Five constituencies
Jammu and Kashmir: Two constituencies
Jharkhand: Four constituencies
Madhya Pradesh: Seven constituencies
Rajasthan: Twelve constituencies
- Jaipur Rural
Uttar Pradesh: Fourteen constituencies
- Rae Bareli
West Bengal: Seven constituencies