Lok Sabha polls: Phase 5 covers 49 seats in 6 states and 2 union territories

Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah, Chirag Paswan and Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's son Karan are among the candidates in this round

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi (left) with Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Omar Abdullah during the Bharat Jodo Yatra (photo courtesy @Maakarni4567/X)
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi (left) with Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Omar Abdullah during the Bharat Jodo Yatra (photo courtesy @Maakarni4567/X)

Ashlin Mathew

The general election season is now past its midpoint, with just three phases to go.

Elections to 380 seats have been conducted over the first four phases and on Monday, 20 May, another 49 seats across 6 states and 2 union territories will see voting in the fifth phase.

However, some states have key constituencies with star candidates in play or their last round of polling, and one of the states is conducting assembly polls too.

Of the 49 seats in the hustings tomorrow, the BJP had won 32 in 2019, while the Congress got only Rae Bareli. This time, the BJP is contesting for 40 of the seats, and the Congress from just 18 seats.

Campaigning for the fifth phase of polls ended on 18 May. A total of 695 candidates are vying for seats in this phase, including 82 women. Maharashtra has the maximum, with 512 nominations from 13 parliamentary constituencies, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 466 nominations from 14 constituencies.

This phase will mark the end of the polls in Maharashtra, with the final 13 out of its 48 constituencies voting, and the last phase of voting for Jammu and Kashmir too. The states and union territories going to the polls in the fifth phase now are Bihar (5 constituencies), Jammu and Kashmir (1), Jharkhand (3), Ladakh (1), Maharashtra (13), Odisha (5), Uttar Pradesh (14) and West Bengal (7). In Odisha, 35 Assembly seats will also go to polls in this phase.

Voting in the seven-phase elections began on 19 April and the last phase will be held on 1 June. The counting of votes will take place on 4 June. The voter turnouts in the first four phases — 19 April, 26 April, 7 May, 13 May — were 66.1, 66.7, 61 and 67.3 per cent, respectively.

As with earlier phases, the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused on double-speak in their campaigning.

In interviews, the prime minister said that he would never engage in divisive politics and accused opposition parties of doing just that to pander to their vote bank — even as he attacked the Muslim community in his own election speeches.

In contrast, several joint rallies by the Congress and Samajwadi Party across election constituencies in Uttar Pradesh focused on citizens’ everyday issues instead, particularly livelihood concerns: price rise, leaked examination papers, unemployment and the Agniveer scheme.

The fifth phase will see a scion of the Gandhi family, a chief minister and a former Indian hockey captain seeking re-election.

In this phase, there are over 8.95 crore citizens due to vote, including 4.69 crore males, 4.26 crore females and 5,409 of a third gender. There will be a total of 2,000 flying squads, 2,105 static surveillance teams, 881 video surveillance teams and 502 video viewing teams on the ground to conduct the process.

Key candidates in the fray

The most-watched contests are likely those in the Uttar Pradesh constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli, considered to be Congress bastions. In the former, Gandhi family loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma will take on union minister Smriti Irani; in the latter, Rahul Gandhi is contesting to replace his mother Sonia Gandhi, who has had health concerns.

BJP state minister Dinesh Pratap Singh will run against Gandhi. In the last election, Singh had managed to cut down Sonia Gandhi’s margin.

Rahul Gandhi is seeking re-election from Kerala’s Wayanad, where polling took place on 26 April. Irani managed to wrest control of Amethi in 2019. But Gandhi had won the constituency in 2004, 2009 and 2014 and the Congress is looking to get it back.

In UP’s Lucknow, union defence minister Rajnath Singh is vying for a third consecutive term. He will take on the Samajwadi Party’s Ravidas Mehrotra and Sarwar Malik of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Just a few hours away from Lucknow is the Kaiserganj constituency, where BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was denied a ticket. It was instead given to his son Karan Bhushan, in the wake of wrestlers protesting for over a year about sexual harassment at Brij Bhushan hands while he was heading the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Brij Bhushan has denied the charges and he was removed from the post of WFI president — but his aide Sanjay Singh is the one elected to head it now, which hasn’t soothed any ruffled feathers.

The election for the Faizabad constituency, where the Ayodhya Ram temple is located, will also be held in this phase. BJP MP Lallu Singh is seeking re-election and is contesting against the SP’s Awadhesh Prasad.

In Bihar, former chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav’s daughter Rohini Acharya is contesting from Saran. It was represented by Yadav himself in 2009, after which the BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy won in both 2014 and 2019. Rudy is seeking re-election this time too.

In Bihar’s Hajipur, Chirag Paswan is contesting from his late father Ram Vilas Paswan’s constituency. His father represented the constituency eight times, starting 1977. Chirag will be taking on Lalu Prasad Yadav’s aide Shiv Chandra Ram, who is looking to win the seat for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Omar Abdullah will be contesting on the National Conference (NC) ticket from Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla. He will be contesting against Sajad Lone of the Peoples Conference (PC). 

In the fifth phase in Jharkhand, the Kodarma constituency will see Vinod Kumar Singh of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation contesting against Annpurna Devi of the BJP. In the 2019 general elections, she defeated former chief minister Babulal Marandi with a margin of over 4.5 lakh votes. However, Devi is facing anti-incumbency in her constituency and has been labelled a non-performer.

The lone constituency in Ladakh is also in focus, as the BJP denied a ticket to sitting MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal and instead gave the ticket to Tashi Gyalson, who is also the chief executive councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (Leh). Namgyal has since switched to the Congress and is now their candidate for the seat. An NC rebel, Mohammed Haneefa, from Kargil will take on both these candidates. Sajjad Kargili withdrew his candidature in favour of Haneefa.

From Maharashtra’s Mumbai North, Rajya Sabha member and union minister Piyush Goyal is contesting against Bhushan Patil of the Congress. Goyal is seen as an ‘outsider’ and Patil is considered a son of the soil here.

In the Mumbai North Central constituency, the BJP has fielded lawyer Ujjwal Nikam. He was the special public prosecutor in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case and in the trial of the 26/11 Mumbai attacker Ajmal Kasab. The sitting BJP MP from the seat, Poonam Mahaja, was denied a ticket, although in 2019 she won with a margin of about 1.3 lakh. The Congress has fielded the Ambedkarite Dalit candidate Varsha Gaikwad from this seat, and the party is hoping that Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena (UBT) will be able to transfer its votes to her too.

In Odisha, chief minister Naveen Patnaik is seeking re-election from his long-time assembly constituency Hinjili and the newly selected Kantabanji constituency.

Kandhamal in Odisha is also going to the polls in this phase, and the BJD had won it in 2019. The BJD’s Achyutananda Samanta is seeking re-election here, while Sukanta Kumar Panigrahi of the BJP is hoping to break into the BJD bastion. The Congress has fielded Amir Chand Nayak, but the grand old party is not considered a serious contender here. The constituency was created after the 2009 delimitation exercise, and since then has only elected BJD candidates.

Attempting to cash in on his hockey credentials, the BJD has fielded former Rajya Sabha MP, former India hockey team captain and incumbent Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey from the Sundergarh Lok Sabha constituency. He stands against former union minister and sitting BJP MP Jual Oram.

Congress has also fielded Tirkey's junior, another former India hockey captain, Prabodh Tirkey as the candidate from the Talsara assembly segment, which is in Sundergarh district.

From West Bengal’s Hooghly seat, former cinestar and the BJP's sitting MP Locket Chatterjee is up against the TMC's new horn, Rachana Banerjee, who is a TV anchor, and Manadip Ghosh of the CPI(M).

In Howrah, former India football star and two-time TMC MP Prasun Banerjee is contesting against Rathin Chakraborty of the BJP and CPI(M) candidate advocate Sabyasachi Banerjee.

Seats going to the polls

Bihar: 5 out of 40 seats

Sitamarhi (sitting MP from JDU), Madhubani (BJP), Muzaffarpur (BJP), Saran (BJP), Hajipur (LJP)

Jammu and Kashmir: 1 out of 5 seats

Baramulla (JKNC)

Jharkhand: 3 out of 15 seats

Chatra (BJP), Kodarma (BJP), Hazaribagh (BJP)

Ladakh: 1 out of 1 seats

Ladakh (BJP)

Maharashtra: 13 out of 48 seats

Dhule (BJP), Dindori (BJP), Nashik (Shiv Sena), Palghar (Shiv Sena), Bhiwandi (BJP), Kalyan (Shiv Sena), Thane (Shiv Sena), Mumbai North (BJP), Mumbai North West (Shiv Sena), Mumbai North East (BJP), Mumbai North Central (BJP), Mumbai South Central (Shiv Sena), Mumbai South (Shiv Sena)

Odisha: 5 out of 21 seats

Bargarh (BJP), Sundargarh (BJP), Bolangir (BJP), Kandhamal (BJD), Aska (BJD)

Uttar Pradesh: 14 out of 80 seats

Mohanlalganj (BJP), Lucknow (BJP), Rae Bareli (Congress), Amethi (BJP), Jalaun (BJP), Jhansi (BJP), Hamirpur (BJP), Banda (BJP), Fatehpur (BJP), Kaushambi (BJP), Barabanki (BJP), Faizabad (BJP), Kaiserganj (BJP), Gonda (BJP)

West Bengal: 7 out of 42 seats

Bangaon (BJP), Barrackpur (BJP), Howrah (TMC), Uluberia (TMC), Srirampur (TMC), Hooghly (BJP), Arambagh (TMC)

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