As campaigning for the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections in 59 constituencies ended Friday evening, over 10.17 crore voters across seven states will decide the fate of 979 candidates by casting their votes on May 12. On Sunday, voting will take place for 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 in Haryana, eight seats each in West Bengal, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, seven in Delhi and four in Jharkhand.
A look at the key constituencies going to the polls on Sunday.
Morena (Madhya Pradesh)
Key contestants: Narendra Singh Tomar (BJP), Ram Niwas Rawat (Congress)
Main factors and issues: Tomar, the Union Minister, has been shifted to Morena this elections by denying ticket to former MPs Anup Mishra and Ashok Argal. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s Anoop Mishra had contested against Congress’s Brindawan Singh Sikarwar and had defeated him by a margin of 132,981 votes.
Both Tomar and Rawat had gone up against each other in 2009 with Tomar emerging victorious with more than one lakh votes. By fielding Tomar again, the BJP is hoping for a replay of the 2009 results.
Since 1996, Morena, the birthplace of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has constantly voted for the BJP.
Guna (Madhya Pradesh)
Key contestants: Jyotiraditya Scindia (Congress), K.P. Yadav (BJP)
Main factors and issues: Scindia is seeking another term from this parliamentary constituency which he has represented since 2002. Guna was one of the two seats in Madhya Pradesh which the Congress could manage to win in 2014 Lok Sabha election. The other was Chhindwara from where Kamal Nath was elected.
Yadav was a trusted lieutenant of Scindia till 2018. He switched sides to the BJP earlier this year after the Congress denied him ticket for the bypoll.
Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)
Key contestants: Digvijaya Singh (Congress), Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur (BJP)
Main factors and issues: Bhopal has grabbed a lot of attention after the BJP fielded the controversial Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, against veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.
Pragya Thakur, who joined the race for Bhopal almost a month after Digvijaya Singh’s candidature was finalised, is no longer just a candidate, but has become an election issue. Many have raised questions over her candidature, wondering if someone who’s out on bail in a terror case should be allowed to contest elections.
Digvijay Singh peddled the ‘soft Hindutva’ line by roping in seers, including Computer Baba (Namdeo Das Tyagi) who conducted ‘hath yoga’ and set afire cow dung cakes while Pragya Thakur highlighted her alleged torture in police custody to win the sympathy of voters in Bhopal, which has been a BJP bastion since 1989.
Sultanpur (Uttar Pradesh)
Key contestants: Maneka Gandhi (BJP), Sanjay Singh (Congress)
Main factors and issues: Sultanpur is witnessing a close contest as the BJP has fielded Union minister Maneka Gandhi for the seat won by her son Varun Gandhi in 2014 against Sanjay Singh of the Congress.
Once a stronghold of the Congress party, the BJP managed to make a dent in Sultanpur parliamentary constituency for the first time in 1991. Since the first Lok Sabha election held in 1951, the Congress has bagged the Sultanpur seat seven times, followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party four times and Bahujan Samaj Party twice.
Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh)
Key contestants: Rita Bahuguna Joshi (BJP), Rajendra Pratap Singh (SP), Yogesh Shukla (Congress)
Main factors and issues: This election will be a challenge for Rita Bahuguna Joshi to carry forward the legacy of BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, who was denied ticket on age ground and her father, Hemwati Nandan who was elected in 1971.
This prestigious Lok Sabha seat has elected former prime ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri and V.P. Singh, SP’s Janeshwar Mishra and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh)
Key contestants: Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’ (BJP)
Main factors and issues: Considered as a bastion of the Samajwadi Party, Azamgarh is witnessing a Yadav versus Yadav battle. Voters here have elected 18 MPs in 16 general elections and two by-polls. Of the 18 MPs, 12 have been a Yadav candidate.
Azamgarh is one of the few parliamentary constituencies that did not get swept away in the 2014 Modi wave and elected Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav as its lawmaker.
Caste equation favours Yadavs on the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat, where the upper castes constitute 2.90 lakh votes, OBC 6.80 lakh, Dalit 4.50 lakh and minorities 3.10 lakh.
Purvi Champaran (Bihar)
Key contestants: Radha Mohan Singh (BJP), Akash Singh (RLSP)
Main factors and issues: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, who is serving his fifth term as an MP from Purvi Champaran, earlier known as Motihari, has announced this to be his last election.
He is pitted against a greenhorn – 27-year-old Akash Singh of the RLSP, fielded by the ‘Mahagathbandhan’. He is the son of Congress Rajya Sabha member Akhilesh Prasad Singh, who had defeated Radha Mohan Singh in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls. Rajputs holds the key in this parliamentary constituency.
Key contestants: Dushyant Chautala (JJP), Bhavya Bishnoi (Congress), Brijendra Singh (BJP)
Main factors and issues: Hisar is going to witness a triangular clash of dynasts. Dushyant Chautala, who leads the JJP, is struggling to retain his seat. Bhavya, the youngest in the fray, is the grandson of late three-time Chief Minister Bhajan Lal while Brijendra Singh is the son of Union minister Birender Singh.
Key contestants: Deepender Singh Hooda (Congress), Arvind Sharma (BJP), Dharamvir (INLD)
Main factors and issues: Rohtak, where Jat voters have sizeable presence, is seen as a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP, though 18 candidates including BSP’s Kishan Lal and INLD’s Dharamvir are in fray.
Rohtak parliamentary constituency, which covers Rohtak, Jhajjar and parts of Rewari districts, has traditionally favoured Jat candidates, but BJP has chosen to field a Brahmin face.
This parliamentary constituency is the bastion of Congress’ former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his lawmaker son Deepender Singh Hooda. The Congress has won the Lok Sabha elections 11 out 17 times. Deepender Singh Hooda, 41, fought the Narendra Modi wave to emerge as the only Congress leader from Haryana to make it to the Lok Sabha in 2014.
Key contestants: Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Congress), Ramesh Chander Kaushik (BJP), Digvijay Chautala (JJP), Surender Chhikara (INLD)
Main factors and issues: This Jat dominated parliamentary constituency is witnessing a triangular contest. Barring Kaushik, all of the four main contestants belong to the Jat community, which has sizeable votes over 15 lakh.
Five out of the nine Assembly segments in this constituency are held by Hooda loyalists, an important factor in determining the pull of the candidate. The JJP candidate, Digvijay Chautala, is heavily banking on the three Assembly segments falling in Jind district. The BJP candidate relies heavily on the urban electorate in Sonipat and Jind assembly segments to prop up his prospects.
North East Delhi (Delhi)
Key contestants: Manoj Tiwari (BJP), Sheila Dikshit (Congress), Dilip Pandey (AAP)
Main factors and issues: North East Delhi constituency has emerged as the prestigious seat for both Congress and the BJP where three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has locked horns with Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari.
Also in the fray is AAP’s Dilip Pandey, making the contest triangular.
Chandni Chowk (Delhi)
Key contestants: Harsh Vardhan (BJP), Jai Prakash Agarwal (Congress), Pankaj Gupta (AAP)
Main factors and issues: Traders community holds the key in Chandni Chowk, which houses the city’s biggest wholesale markets. The opposition is trying to make the GST, sealing and demonetisation the major issues.
Harsh Vardhan is banking on his appeal to all sections of the society along with the respect people have for Prime Minister Narendra Modi while Agarwal is banking on his old connections with local traders community and and a shift of Muslim voters towards Congress. Gupta is hoping to get benefits of the schemes launched by Delhi government and popularity of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
East Delhi (Delhi)
Key contestants: Gautam Gambhir (BJP), Atishi (AAP), Arvinder Singh Lovely (Congress)
Main factors and issues: The BJP is relying on Modi’s popularity and Gambhir’s star value, while the AAP is banking on Atishi’s personal connect with the voters and Kejriwal’s charisma. The Congress is calling both candidates of the BJP and the AAP as “political tourists” and “outsiders” as they are not from East Delhi.
South Delhi (Delhi)
Key contestants: Ramesh Bidhuri (BJP), Vijender Singh (Congress), Raghav Chadha (AAP)
Main factors and issues: With Jats and Gujjars along with Poorvanchalis, who hails from eastern UP and Bihar, making a large chunk of 20.67 lakh voters, the candidates are focussing on these groups to win the seat.
The penultimate phase of Lok Sabha elections on Sunday will see 59 parliamentary constituencies spread over seven states going to the polls with the BJP having maximum at stake as it has to defend 45 seats it won in 2014.
The Election Commission has set up 1.13 lakh polling stations for the smooth conduct of elections.
Voting will take place for 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, all 10 in Haryana, eight each in West Bengal, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, four in Jharkhand and all the seven seats in Delhi.
The key constituencies outside Delhi include Morena, Guna and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Sultanpur, Allahbad and Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, East Champaran in Bihar and Hisar, Sonipat and Rohtak in Hayrana.
In 2014, the BJP had won seven of the eight seats in Bihar, eight of 10 in Haryana, all four in Jharkhand, seven of eight in Madhya Pradesh and 12 of 14 in Uttar Pradesh. It had won all the seven seats in Delhi.
BJP’s allies Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Apna Dal had won one seat each. The Congress had won two seats while the Samajwadi Party and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) had won one seat apiece.
The Trinamool Congress had won all the eight seats going to the polls in the sixth phase in West Bengal. (IANS)