Lok Sabha polls: Phase 6 to see some crucial battles

Several businessmen and some of this election's wealthiest candidates are in the fray in phase 6 of Lok Sabha elections 2024

Polling officials leave from New Delhi on the eve of phase six (photo: Vipin/National Herald)
Polling officials leave from New Delhi on the eve of phase six (photo: Vipin/National Herald)

Ashlin Mathew

India's longest ever Lok Sabha election exercise is nearing completion with just two more phases left of a total of seven. Elections to 429 seats have been conducted over the first five phases and on Saturday, 25 May, another 58 constituencies across six states and two Union Territories will go to polls, including the seven Parliamentary seats in the national capital region. In Odisha, 42 Assembly seats will simultaneously go to polls.

Of these seats, the BJP had won 40 in the 2019 elections, and the Congress not even one.

The states going to polls are Bihar (8 seats), Haryana (all 10 constituencies), Jammu and Kashmir (1), Jharkhand (4), Delhi (all 7), Odisha (6), Uttar Pradesh (14), and West Bengal (8). Polling in the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat in J&K was rescheduled by the Election Commission last month from 7 to 20 May citing "logistical reasons".

In phase six, UP received the highest number of nomination forms, 470 from 14 Parliamentary constituencies, followed by Haryana, with 370 nominations from 10 constituencies.

There are over 8.93 lakh registered voters aged over 85, 23,659 voters aged above 100, and 9.58 lakh PwD (persons with disabilities) for this phase who have been provided the option to vote from their homes.

There will be 2,222 flying squads, 2,295 static surveillance teams, 819 video surveillance teams and 569 video viewing teams monitoring tomorrow's polls.

Several businessmen and some of this election's wealthiest candidates are in the fray in this phase, with phase seven coming up on 1 June.

Key candidates in the fray

The wealthiest candidate in this phase, BJP leader Naveen Jindal with over Rs 1,241 crore in assets, will contest from Kurukshetra in Haryana, taking on Sushil Gupta of the Aam Aadmi Party (himself with over Rs 169 crore in assets), and Indian National Lok Dal’s secretary and the party’s lone MLA Abhay Chautala. 

The BJP has fielded former chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar from the Karnal seat in Haryana against Congress candidate Divyanshu Buddhiraja.

Rohtak is another Haryana seat set for a high-profile battle between Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda, who lost narrowly last time, and incumbent MP Arvind Sharma. It is a battle of prestige for Hooda and his father and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Also in the fray is independent candidate Master Randhir Singh, who has the lowest declaration of total assets at Rs 2!

Hisar in Haryana will see three members of the Chautala family — the BJP’s Ranjit Chautala (brother of Om Prakash Chautala), INLD’s Sunaina Chautala (wife of Ravi Chautala, son of INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala’s younger brother late Pratap Singh Chautala) and JJP’s Naina Chautala (wife of JJP chief Ajay Singh Chautala, another son of Om Prakash Chautala and the mother of ex-Haryana deputy CM Dushyant Chautala) — stake their claim to the same seat. The Congress has fielded three-time MP Jai Prakash as its candidate.

From Gurgaon in Haryana, the Congress has fielded former Bollywood actor Raj Babbar to take on incumbent BJP MP Rao Inderjit. Sirsa in Haryana will also be closely watched as Kumari Selja is the Congress candidate, taking on former state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, who has switched to the BJP.

Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi will see a strong fight between Congress's Yashaswini Sahay and the BJP incumbent Sanjay Seth.

In another high-stakes battle, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti will take on Mian Altaf of the National Conference (NC), and Zafar Iqbal Manhas of Apni Party in Anantnag. The seat used to be a PDP bastion before delimitation in 2022, and Mufti had won it in 2004 and 2014. Her late father and former Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had won the seat in 1998.

The Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference won the seat in 2019 (Hasnain Masoodi) and 2009 (Mehboob Beg). Before delimitation, Anantnag had only the districts of the Valley, but after, Anantnag-Rajouri covers the earlier Anantnag region and Rajouri and Poonch of Jammu.

In Delhi, former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar is the Congress’s North-East Delhi candidate against Bhojpuri singer-actor and BJP leader Manoj Tiwari, the sitting MP from the constituency, the lone Delhi MP who was not replaced by the party. This is the constituency where riots broke out in early 2020 in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, leading to 53 deaths.

BJP's newcomer and Sushma Swaraj's daughter Bansuri Swaraj faces AAP leader Somnath Bharti in the New Delhi seat.

In Odisha’s Puri, Jay Narayan Patnaik of the Congress will take on Sambit Patra of the BJP and former Mumbai Police commissioner Arup Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). Here though, it is a direct contest between the BJP and BJD, though the BJP has never won Puri. In 2019, Patra lost the seat by less than 12,000 votes to the BJD’s Pinaki Misra. The Congress had initially announced Sucharita Mohanty as its candidate here, but she withdrew citing paucity of funds for her campaign.

In Cuttack, also in Odisha, Bhartruhari Mehtab of the BJP, who left the party to join BJP on 28 March, will contest against Santrupt Mishra of the BJD. Meanwhile, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan will take on Pranab Prakash (Bobby) Das of the BJD in the key Sambalpur constituency. In 2019, this seat was won by the BJP's Nitesh Ganga Deb.

In Uttar Pradesh's Sultanpur, BJP candidate and incumbent MP Maneka Gandhi is fighting to retain her bastion with neither PM Narendra Modi nor UP CM Yogi Adityanath campaigning for her. Her son Varun Gandhi was also denied a ticket from Pilibhit, his seat. She will take on the Samajwadi Party's Ram Bhual Nishad and the BSP's Uday Raj Verma.

Samajwadi Party leader and former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav’s cousin Dharmendra Yadav is taking on the BJP's incumbent and popular Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav in Azamgarh. When Akhilesh stepped down as MP from the seat, as he had won as an MLA, Lal had emerged victorious in the by-election defeating Dharmendra Yadav.

In Allahabad, the BJP is hoping for a hat-trick and has fielded Neeraj Tripathi after dropping Rita Bahuguna Joshi. He will take on Ujjwal Raman Singh of the Congress.

An interesting fight is happening in Jaunpur constituency, where the BJP has fielded Congress turncoat Kripashankar Singh against the SP's Babu Singh Kushwaha.

In West Bengal, the former Left stronghold of Tamluk, now widely seen as a 'safe' seat for the BJP thanks to the local influence of state unit chief Suvendu Adhikari, will see a clash between former Calcutta High Court judge and BJP candidate Abhijit Gangopadhyay and Debangshu Bhattacharya of the Trinamool Congress.

Seats going to the polls

Bihar: Valmiki Nagar (JDU), Paschim Champaran (BJP), Purvi Champaran (BJP), Sheohar (BJP), Vaishali  (LJP), Gopalganj (JDU), Siwan (JDU), Maharajganj

Delhi: Chandni Chowk, North East Delhi, East Delhi, New Delhi, North West Delhi, West Delhi, South Delhi

Haryana: Ambala, Kurukshetra, Sirsa, Hisar, Karnal, Sonipat, Rohtak, Bhiwani-Mahendragarh, Gurgaon, Faridabad

Jammu and Kashmir: Anantnag-Rajouri

Jharkhand: Giridih, Dhanbad, Ranchi, Jamshedpur

Odisha: Bhubaneswar, Puri, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Cuttack, Sambalpur and 43 Assembly segments

Uttar Pradesh: Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Shrawasti, Domriyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr, Bhadohi

West Bengal: Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura, Bishnupur

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