Pragya, Maneka, Akhilesh: Key Candidates in Phase 6 of LS Polls
The sixth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections on Sunday, 12 May, will witness some keenly fought contests, including one for Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh between the Bharatiya Janata Party's Pragya Thakur and the Congress' Digvijaya Singh.
The states where voters are casting their ballots are Bihar (8 parliamentary constituencies), Delhi (7), Haryana (10), Jharkhand (4), Uttar Pradesh (14) and West Bengal (8), Madhya Pradesh (8), Tripura (1).
A total of 979 candidates are contesting the polls on Sunday. Here is a closer look at some of the key candidates in the fray for the sixth phase of voting:
Lok Sabha Elections – Phase 6: Madhya Pradesh
BHOPAL: Pragya Thakur vs Digvijaya Singh
Eight seats in Madhya Pradesh will go to the polls on Sunday. The fight between Pragya Thakur and Digvijaya Singh will be one of the most closely watched fights in this phase.
Political observers say that to shed his pro-minorities image, Singh pushed the 'soft Hindutva' line by roping in seers, including Computer Baba (Namdeo Das Tyagi), who had conducted 'hath yoga' and set ablaze cow dung cakes.
On the other hand, there is Pragya Thakur, who is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast, which had killed six people. She has repeatedly highlighted the alleged torture in police custody to win the sympathy of voters in Bhopal, which has been a BJP bastion since 1989.
She has also made controversial statements regarding martyred IPS officer Hemant Karkare and the Babri Moaque demolition in Ayodhya after which the Election Commission imposed a 72-hour ban on her campaigning.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP's Alok Sanjar had won from Bhopal with a margin of 3.70 lakh votes.
GUNA: Jyotiraditya Scindia vs KP Yadav
Jyotiraditya Scindia is in the fray again from his traditional Guna seat, which he has been winning since 2002. His wife, Priyadarshini Raje and his son Mahaaryaman Jyotiraditya have been campaigning for him.
Meanwhile, Yadav is contesting his first parliamentary elections.
Scindia had won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls with a margin of over 1.20 lakh votes.
Lok Sabha Elections – Phase 6: Uttar Pradesh
AZAMGARH: Akhilesh Yadav vs Dinesh Lal Yadav (Nirahua)
Fourteen constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will cast their vote on Sunday.
It is Yadav vs Yadav in the city of Azamgarh. Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav is trying to retain his father's seat against Bhojpuri film star Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua' of the BJP. Nirahua was honoured by the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) government led by Akhilesh Yadav with the state's Yash Bharti award.
Azamgarh is one of the few constituencies that did not get swept away in the 2014 ‘Modi wave’ and Mulayam Singh Yadav of SP won the seat.
SULTANPUR: Maneka Gandhi vs Sanjay Singh
Sultanpur is also seeing an interesting fight. BJP’s Maneka Gandhi is contesting from the seat that was won by her son Varun Gandhi with 42.52 percent of votes in 2014.
In 2009, INC’s Sanjay Singh had won the Lok Sabha elections with 42.44% votes.
Lok Sabha Elections – Phase 6: Haryana
SONIPAT: Bhupinder Singh Hooda vs Ramesh Chander Kaushik
Ten seats of Haryana will enter the fray of polling on Sunday.
Hoodas are one of the few clans that have dominated the political scenario in Haryana for decades. Earlier, when Congress’ Bhupinder Singh Hooda's nomination was announced, he said, "I am a disciplined soldier of the party. I had earlier said that I will contest the polls if my party asks me to do so. My priority is my party."
Meanwhile, Ramesh Chander Kaushik, who switched from Congress to BJP in 2014, is banking on the 'Modi wave' and non-Jat voters. He had earlier faced a debut loss in the Jind by-election where he finished as the runner-up.
ROHTAK: Deepender Hooda vs Digvijay Chautala
Congress’ Deepender Hooda is fighting for a fourth straight victory from the Rohtak seat. He won the seat last time despite being bedridden due to slipped disc problem. He is banking on the development work carried out during his father's tenure as the chief minister.
Digvijay Chautala of Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) is likely to split the Jat votes.
Lok Sabha Elections – Phase 6: Jharkhand
DHANBAD: Kirti Azad vs Pasupati Nath Singh
Four seats of Jharkhand are casting their vote on Sunday. Cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad is a key candidate. He joined Congress in February this year. He was suspended from the BJP in 2015 after some of his remarks were seen as a violation of party discipline.
Whereas, Pasupati Nath Singh is a two-time MP for Dhanbad. He polled 47 percent of votes against Congress' 21.9 percent in 2014.
As a lot of equations have changed between 2014 and 2019, and it will have bearing on the outcome of the ongoing general elections.
Counting for all the phases will be conducted on 23 May.
(With inputs from PTI)