Bangalore, April 29: Total seven states and two union territories, where nearly 139 million voters will decide the electoral fate of over 1,200 candidates, are going to polls on Wednesday, April 30. The contestants, including many star ones, are in the fray for 89 Lok Sabha seats.
Balloting will take place for 17 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh, seven in Bihar, 26 in Gujarat, 1 in Jammu and Kashmir, 13 in Punjab, 14 in Uttar Pradesh, 9 in West Bengal, and 1 each in the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli as well as Daman and Diu.
Simultaneous assembly polls are scheduled to be held for 119 seats in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. Besides, by-polls are being held in Bihar (one), Gujarat (seven), Uttar Pradesh (two) and one in West Bengal.
There are many star politicians whose fate will be decided by nearly 139 million voters on Wednesday. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Gujarat CM and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, veteran BJP leader LK Advani, Bollywood singer Bappi Lahiri are among them.
Meet the star candidates who are contesting for the constituencies which go to poll on April 30:
Star contestant: Sonia Gandhi
In Uttar Pradesh, a keenly watched contest is in Rae Bareli (General) where Congress president Sonia Gandhi is seeking her third consecutive term. She is pitted against Ajay Agarwal of the BJP, Pravesh Singh of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Archana Srivastava of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Sonia Gandhi won the Lok Sabha seats with 6,66,699 votes in 2009.
Star contestant: Rajnath Singh
Rajnath Singh is contesting from Lucknow, a seat that has been represented in the past by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Lucknow has been a BJP stronghold for many years. BJP candidate Lal Ji Tandon won the seat with 5,87,772 votes in 2009.
Rajnath is contesting against Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Javed Jaffri.
Star contestant: Murlia Manohar Joshi
Murlia Manohar Joshi is contesting from Kanpur, a seat where Congress leader Sri Prakash Jaiswal won with 5,12,917 votes in 2009.
Senior BJP leader Joshi has been eased out of Varanasi by prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, will face the electorate in Kanpur. He is contesting against Congress leader Sriprakash Jaiswal, AAP candidate Dr Mahmood Husain Rehmani, BSP candidate Salim Ahmed and Samajwadi Party candidate Surendra Mohan Agarwal.
Star contestant: Narendra Modi
Gujarat will witness BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi fight it out against Congress candidate Madhusudan Mistri in Vadodara. Surprisingly, AAP has not fielded any candidate from the seat. Modi is also contesting from Varanasi which will vote May 12.
BJP candidate Balkrishna Khanderao Shukla alias Balu Shukla won the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat with 7,47,196 votes in 2009.
Star contestant: LK Advani
BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani is contesting the Gandhinagar parliamentary seat. After much hallballoos, Advani finally agreed to contest from the seat. He earlier had expressed his wish to contest from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Star contestant: Paresh Rawal
BJP chose to drop seven-time MP Harin Pathak from Ahmedabad East, picking Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal instead. Licking his wounds, Pathak is now campaigning for LK Advani from neighbouring Gandhinagar, preferring not to campaign for Rawal.
Star contestant: S Jaipal Reddy
Union Minister S Jaipal Reddy, contesting from Mahbubnagar, a seat vacated by KCR. 72-year-old Reddy won Chevella constituency in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh in 2009 with 10,84,394 votes.
He won from Mahabubnagar in 1998. He is well-known for hopping constituencies across Telangana in his political career spanning close to 50 years first as a leader of the Janata Party and then of the Congress.
The BJP-TDP alliance is hoping to win 1-2 seats from Telangana. It has fielded a veteran Nagam Janardhana Reddy from Mahboobnagar and former union minister Bandaru Dattathreya from Secundarabad.
Star contestant: K Chandrashekhara Rao
KCR is contesting in both the Lok Sabha and Assembly election from Medak Lok Sabha seat and Gajwel Assembly seat respectively in the same district. His nephew T Harish Rao is contesting from Siddipet in Medak district.
KCR's daughter K Kavitha is making her electoral debut from Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat. She is taking on the sitting MP Madhu Yakshi Goud of the Congress.
KCR's son KT Ramarao is seeking re-election from Sircilla assembly seat in Karimnagar district. These things have led to criticism that KCR is turning the state into a family business.
KCR has fielded a super rich candidate Dr Konda Vishweshwar Reddy from Chevella. He is the grandson of legendary Telangana leader Ranga Reddy and the nephew of former chief minister Dr M Chenna Reddy. He is facing former Andhra Pradesh home minister Sabita Indra Reddy's son Karthik Reddy of the Congress.
Star contestant: Jayaprakash Narayan
Lok Satta Party president Jayaprakash Narayan has reportedly decided to contest from the Malkajgiri constituency for a Lok Sabha seat as nearly 65 per cent of its electorate are Seemandhra settlers.
Star contestant: Asaduddin Owaisi
The MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi is seeking re-election from Hyderabad, whose 65 per cent voters are Muslims. Owaisi had won from Hyderabad with 7,30,544 votes in 2009.
The YSRCP has fielded retired DGP of Andhra Pradesh V Dinesh Reddy from Malkajgiri Lok Sabha seat, which is the largest seat in India voter-wise. Malkajgiri has almost 30 lakh voters.
Star contestant: Sharad Yadav
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is apparently proving to be too heavy a weight for JD(U) president Sharad Yadav to carry in Madhepura. This has made the latter's fight in the constituency tough against RJD strongman Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav and BJP nominee Vijay Singh Kushwaha.
Sharad Yadav is finding it hard to garner the support of the Yadavs inclined towards Lalu Prasad's RJD. The backward communities, on the other hand, are said to be rallying behind Kushwaha.
Star contestant: Kirti Azad
Former chief minister Bhagwat Jha Azad's son Kirti Azad, cricketer-turned politician, is contesting from Darbhanga as a BJP candidate. Azad had won from the same seat with 5,45,726 votes in 2009
Star contestant: Bappi Lahiri
Noted music director Bappi Lahiri will contest the Lok Sabha election from West Bengal as a candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He got the ticket from Serampore constituency in West Bengal.
Bengali actor George Baker from Howrah and journalist-turned-party spokesperson Chandan Mitra from Hooghly are also among the star contestants who are contesting on April 30.
Star contestant: Farooq Abdullah
In Jammu and Kashmir, retaining Srinagar appears to be a tough call for union minister Farooq Abdullah, the 78-year old National Conference patron and three-time state chief minister.
The constituency has been represented in the past by Abdullah's mother, Begum Akbar Jahan. His son and state chief minister, Omar Abdullah has represented Srinagar in the Lok Sabha thrice.
Farooq Abdullah, who is contesting against PDP's Tariq Hameed Qarra, won the Lok Sabha seat with 2,82,769 votes in 2009. 12 more contestants including Rabia Altaf, aka Rabia Baji are contesting from the same seat.
Star contestant: Arun Jaitley
Amritsar is witnessing a political "Mahabharat" as two stalwarts fight it out for this Lok Sabha seat. BJP candidate Arun jaitley replaced Navjot Singh Sidhu and is fighting against Congress candidate Capt. Amarinder Singh.
BJP candidate and former cricketer of Team India -- Sidhu had won from Amritsar with 8,14,503 votes in 2009.
16. Vinod Khanna: Gurdaspur incumbent MP Pratap Singh Bajwa is being pitted against three-time BJP MP and actor Vinod Khanna. Partap Singh Bajwa had won the Lok Sabha seat with 9,33,323 votes in 2009.
Star contestant: Vinod Khanna
Gurdaspur incumbent MP Pratap Singh Bajwa is being pitted against three-time BJP MP and actor Vinod Khanna. Partap Singh Bajwa had won the Lok Sabha seat with 9,33,323 votes in 2009.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli constituency
In Dadra and Nagar Haveli constituency, Natubhai Gomanbhai Patel, incumbent MP and BJP candidate, faces Delkar Mohanbhai Sanjibhai of the Congress, Khulat Janiyabhai Chandubhai of the Nationalist Congress Party and Chhotubhai Babubhai Patel of the AAP.