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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Phase 1 - Who Are the Big Candidates? What's At Stake?

As many as 102 seats spread across 21 states and UTs are voting in the first phase on 19 April.

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The first phase of polling for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will take place on 19 April and voters in 102 constituencies will exercise their franchise.

These include:

  • Tamil Nadu: 39 seats

  • Rajasthan: 12 seats

  • Uttar Pradesh: 8 seats

  • Madhya Pradesh: 6 seats

  • Uttarakhand: 5 seats

  • Maharashtra: 5 seats

  • Assam: 5 seats

  • Bihar: 4 seats

  • West Bengal: 3 seats

  • Meghalaya: 2 seats

  • Arunachal Pradesh: 2 seats

  • Manipur: 2 seats

1 seat each in Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep

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Key Candidates

The important candidates in the fray in the seats voting in the first phase include:

  • K Kanimozhi (DMK): Thoothukkudi

  • Tamilsai Soundarajan (BJP): Chennai South

  • K Annamalai (BJP): Coimbatore

  • Dayanidhi Maran (DMK): Chennai Central

  • O Panneerselvam (BJP backed Independent): Ramanathapuram

  • Nitin Gadkari (BJP): Nagpur

  • Gaurav Gogoi (Congress): Jorhat

  • Sarbananda Sonowal (BJP) vs Lurinjyoti Gogoi (AJP): Dibrugarh

  • Jitan Ram Manjhi (HAM-S): Gaya

  • Chandrashekhar Azad 'Ravan' (ASP): Nagina

  • Jitin Prasada (BJP): Pilibhit

  • Arjun Ram Meghwal (BJP): Bikaner

  • Hanuman Beniwal (RLP) vs Jyoti Mirdha (BJP): Nagaur

  • Imran Masood (Congress): Saharanpur

  • Trivendra Singh Rawat (BJP): Haridwar

  • Kiren Rijiju (BJP): Arunachal West

  • Biplab Kumar Deb (BJP): Tripura West

  • Jitendra Singh (BJP): Udhampur

What's at Stake

The big picture is that the first phase is about the extent as well as the limits of Hindutva and PM Modi's appeal. Can these two factors help the BJP overcome diverse challenges ranging from the ethnic divide in Manipur, agrarian woes in Rajasthan, Vidarbha and West UP, resentment against the CAA in Upper Assam and the domination of Dravidian politics in Tamil Nadu?

Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim

Among all the states voting in the first phase, the stakes are highest in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, where people will also vote for Assembly elections on the same day.

CM Pema Khandu has been in power since 2016, first as head of the People's Party of Arunachal and then the BJP in the state. The Congress, which lost power in 2016 due to defections, is the main challenger in the state.

In Sikkim, the contest is mainly between the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, the Sikkim Democratic Front which had ruled the state for over two decades, and the BJP.

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Tamil Nadu

The highest chunk of seats in phase one are from Tamil Nadu. All 39 Lok Sabha seats vote on 19 April. PM Narendra Modi has made several visits to Tamil Nadu in recent months, more than most other states, clearly indicating the state's importance in his scheme of things.

The BJP hopes that PM Modi's visits and a high pitch campaign led by its firebrand state president K Annamalai would help it make inroads in the state. Annamalai himself is contesting from Coimbatore. Read The Quint's ground report from Coimbatore to understand his prospects there.

The party's alliance with the AIADMK ended in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP is now contesting as a senior partner in an alliance that includes the PMK and AIADMK breakaways like former CM O Panneerselvam and senior leader TTV Dinakaran.

The DMK-led alliance on the other hand is confident of repeating its neary complete sweep from 2019. Tamil Nadu gave the UPA its highest chunk of seats in any state in 2019 and this may happen in all likelihood for the INDIA alliance in 2024.

The AIADMK on the other hand is trying to assert that it remains the main Opposition to the DMK in the state.

Read more about the battle for Tamil Nadu in this piece.

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Rajasthan

Nearly half of Rajasthan's 25 seats will be voting in Phase 1. The areas going to polls are mostly in the Northern half of Rajasthan. Agrarian distress remains a major issue in this region, as The Quint found out in its ground report from Bikaner.

The picture in Churu and Jhunjhunu is similar.

The BJP had swept all 25 seats in Rajasthan in 2019 but this time it is facing a strong fightback from the Congress, which is fighting in alliance with Hanuman Beniwal's Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, the Bharatiya Adivasi Party and Left parties.

Beniwal himself is contesting from Nagaur. He won the seat last time as an NDA partner, defeating Congress' Jyoti Mirdha. Mirdha is now a BJP candidate while Beniwal is contesting with the Congress' support. Read The Quint's ground report from Nagaur to know more about the contest there.

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Uttar Pradesh

Out of the eight seats from Uttar Pradesh that vote on 19 April, the Opposition had actually won 5. At that time, the SP, BSP and RLD were contesting in alliance while the Congress fought on its own.

This time the SP and Congress are allies, the RLD has joined the NDA while the BSP is on its own. The change in circumstances does undo a bit of the advantage that the Opposition had in 2019 in these areas.

Many of these seats have a high concentration of Muslim voters and the SP-Congress alliance's prospects would depend on the extent to which they can consolidate these votes. The BJP on its part is trying to prevent this consolidation by attempting to woo Pasmanda Muslim voters.

Read The Quint's ground reports from Rampur and Moradabad to understand the dynamics in these seats.

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Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand has been the BJP's laboratory in a number of ways. It is a state where a number of pro-Hindutva policies of the BJP are being implemented, almost like a pilot project. It is the first state to lay down a Uniform Civil Code. The use of demolitions as a political tool has also been the most extensive in Uttarakhand.

Watch The Quint's in depth documentary from Uttarakhand on this issue.

The BJP had won the 2022 Assembly elections, bucking the state's history of alternating between the BJP and the Congress. That election was fought entirely on PM Modi's name. The BJP hopes that it will be able to sweep all 5 seats in Uttarakhand once again in the name of PM Modi.

Maharashtra

Five out of Maharashtra's 48 seats vote in phase 1. This phase is focused on the Vidarbha region in the Eastern end of the state. Among the candidates in the fray is Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.

Even though the key element in Maharashtra's political battlefield is the tussle for who is the real Shiv Sena and the real NCP, the areas voting in the first phase are different. Here the fight is mostly between the BJP and the Congress.

Assam

Five seats in Upper Assam will be voting in phase 1. This has been a strong area for the BJP and the party's advantage has increased after the delimitation of constituencies.

The Congress has allied with local parties Assam Jaitya Parishad and Raijor Dal, both of which have some influence in this area. Both were also an important part of the anti-CAA protest. The alliance has made CAA an issue in this region and they hope it will help them reduce the BJP's lead here.

There are two hot seats to watch out for in this phase. Senior Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi is contesting from Jorhat. He shifted the seat after his constituency Kaliabor undewent major changes in delimitation.

BJP has fielded former CM Sarbananda Sonowal from Dibrugarh and he up against Assam Jatiya Parishad chief Lurinjyoti Gogoi.

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Bihar

Four out of Bihar's 40 seats vote in phase 1. All four seats are in south central Bihar, in what is known as the Magadh region. Two out of four seats are reserved for SC candidates and the NDA has fielded former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi from Gaya. From the INDIA alliance's side, all four seats have RJD candidates. In both the non-reserved seats, RJD has fielded candidates from the Koeri or Kushwaha community.

West Bengal

Three seats from North Bengal will be voting in the first phase. All three were won by the BJP in the last election.

Manipur

Two seats in Manipur will be voting in phase one - Outer Manipur and Inner Manipur. The outer Manipur seat will vote across different phases due to security reasons. This is the region that was worst affected by the ethnic violence that took place.

The BJP-led Manipur government as well as the Union government faced a lot of flak for their handling of the violence in Manipur.

The Quint is on the ground in Manipur, bringing you the truth of what has been one of the most violent years in the state in recent times.

Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura

Polling will end in three other Northeastern states on 19 April - Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. One out of Tripura's two seats also vote in phase one.

The elections will be a referendum for the incumbent governments in the four states all of which had elections in 2023.

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Bastar, Chhattisgarh

The election in Bastar Lok Sabha seat in Chhattisgarh takes place in the immediate aftermath of the encounter of 29 alleged Maoists in Kanker. The BJP dominated the seat from 1998 to 2014 but lost to the Congress in 2019. Incumbent parties at the state level have historiclaly had an advantage in Bastar.

Union Territories

Union Minister Jitendra Singh is facing a strong challenge from Congress leader Chaudhary Lal Singh in the Udhampur seat. Lal Singh who was earlier a Congress minister in Jammu and Kashmir had joined the BJP briefly but went back to the Congress. He has strong support among local Dogras but PM Modi's popularity is also a major factor at play.

This is the first major election there after the abrogation of Article 370.

Lakshadweep is witnessing a curious contest between two INDIA bloc constituents - Mohammad Faizal Padippura of Sharad Pawar's NCP is up against Congress' Muhammed Hamdulla Sayeed. Mohammad Faizal has won the seat the last two times while Sayeed won the seat in 2009. Sayeed is the son of PM Sayeed who won the seat 10 times.

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