Rahul to Rabri - Top politicians who are contesting poll today

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Rahul Gandhi
Bangalore, May 7: Voting began in 64 parliamentary constituencies covering seven states for the 8th phase of Lok Sabha election on Wednesday, May 7. West Bengal, Bihar, Seemandhra, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand have gone to poll today.

The fate of 1,737 candidates, including Rahul Gandhi (Amethi), his cousin Varun (Sultanpur), Union minister Beni Prasad Verma (Gonda), cricketer-turned-politician Md Kaif (Phulpur-all in UP), Ram Vilas Paswan (Hajipur), Rabri Devi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy (Saran-all in Bihar) is in the hands of 18.47 crore voters who are eligible to cast their franchise.

Here are the top politicians who are contesting in the 8th phase of Lok Sabha Election:

1. Rahul Gandhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who is aiming to score a hat-trick of victories from this constituency, faces a tough contest from actor-turned-politician and BJP candidate Smriti Irani. Another tough contestant against Rahul is Kumar Vishwas, candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Rahul had won Amethi with 6,46,653 votes and with 57.2% margin in 2009.

2. Varun Gandhi: General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- Varun Gandhi is contesting from Sultanpur which lies just next to Amethi in Uttar Pradesht. He is fighting to reclaim his father Sanjay Gandhi's legacy from the constituency. Sanjay Gandhi had won from Amethi in 1980.

Varun is contesting against Amita Singh, the former national Badminton champion. Her husband Sanjay had won the seat as a Congress candidate in 2009. Sanjay Singh, a close friend of Sanjay Gandhi, is now a Rajya Sabha member from Assam. He had won the seat with 7,07,853 votes with 14% margin in 2009.

3. Rabri Devi: Former Bihar Chief Minister and wife of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav -- Rabri Devi is contesting from Saran.

RJD, which is banking on the Muslim-Yadav combination to come to its rescue, fielded Rabri Devi against BJP general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

Lalu Prasad had won the seat with 5,80,830 votes and with 8.9% margin in 2009.

4. Ram Vilas Paswan: Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which recently reunited with the BJP, fielded its supremo Ram Vilas Paswan from Hajipur, Bihar. Paswan, a crucial Dalit leader, is banking on the perceived Modi wave to avenge his defeat five years ago.

93-year-old JD(U) leader Ram Sundar Das, who had represented the constituency 8 times in the past, had won the seat with 5,55,110 votes and with 6.8% margin in 2009.

5. Anurag Thakur: The BJP candidate is contesting from Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh. He is contesting against AAP candidate andmother of Kargil martyr Vikram Batra -- Kamal Kanta Batra. Congress fielded Kamal Kanta Batra who quit BJP before the 2012 assembly polls to contest as an independent from Sujanpur. He won the seat, but has now joined the Congress.

Anurag Singh Thakur had won the seat with 6,99,687 votes and with 10.4% margin in 2009.

6. Renuka Rawat: The Congress candidate is contesting against former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank from Haridwar in Uttarakhand.

Renuka Rawat is the wife of Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat who had won the constituency with 7,88,217 votes and with 16.2% margin. Harish Rawat vacated the seat after taking over the reins of the state in January 2014.

7. YS Vijayamma: Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy's wife YS Vijayamma is contesting from Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. She is contesting with YSR Congress ticket, a party which is led by her son YS Jaganmohan Reddy.

The Reddys hail from Kadapa, but have staked their family prestige in Visakhapatnam. Vijayamma is contesting against BJP candidate K Hari Babu who has been supported by N Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which has entered into an alliance with Narendra Modi's party.

Congress candidate Daggubati Purandeswari had won the seat with 10,13,929 votes and 6.6% margin in 2009.

8. Moonmoon Sen: Trinamool Congress (TMC) field popular cinema actress Moonmoon Sen from Bankura, West Bengal. CPM veteran Basudeb Acharia has been representing this constituency without a break since 1980.

Acharia Basudeb had won the seat with 9,85,847 votes and 10.9% margin in 2009.

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