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As battle shifts down South, a lot at stake for all parties

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New Delhi, Apr 15: Phase two of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 promises to be an interesting one. One would get to witness several interesting battles that include the ones to be fought in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Karnataka.

Polling will be held on 97 seats and all eyes would be on the seats in Uttar Pradesh, where the BSP and SP together are taking on the BJP.

As battle shifts down South, a lot at stake for all parties

Polls would be held in Amroha, Bulandshahr, Nagina, Aligarh, Agra among others. There would be an interesting contest in Mathura as well. The Fatehpur Sikri seat from where Raj Babbar would be contesting would also make for an interesting contest.

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The contests in Amroha, Aligarh, Agra and Nagina would be interesting as the Dalits and Muslims make up for most of the electorate. It is here that the SP-BSP combine would be put to test. It would interesting to watch out if the Dalits and Muslims would vote in large numbers for the grand alliance.

Moving on to Bihar, there would be keen contests in Purnia, Banka, Bhagalpur and Kathihar. These areas have a substantial Muslim population and this would put the JD(U) and BJP to test against the Congress and RJD. All these seats except for Kathihar were won by the RJD alliance in 2014. Only Kathihar was won by the JD(U) in 2014.

This time around the BJP has left all these seats for the JD(U), taking into account the party's performance in the 2015 assembly elections. 13 out of the 30 assembly segments in these seats were bagged by the JD(S). However in 2015, it may be recalled that the JD(U) had fought the elections with the RJD.

The primary focus of the second phase would be on Southern India. Tamil Nadu, with 39 seats will go to polls on April 18. In Karnataka, 14 constituencies would go to elections. The remaining 14 seats in Karnataka would poll on April 23.

In the April 18 battle, one of the key seats to watch out for would be Mandya. There is a direct fight between Nikhil Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) and Sumalatha Ambareesh, an independent candidate backed by the BJP. The chemistry of the JD(S)-Congress coalition would be put to test here as several members of the Congress are disgruntled after Sumalatha was denied a ticket. Her late husband, Ambareesh had won from Mandya thrice.

The Mysore seat too would witness a tight fight. Prathap Simha of the BJP would look to retain this seat, which he had won in 2014. He could well have an advantage thanks to the internal rift in the Congress.

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The Bangalore South contest would be an interesting one too. There was a lot of disgruntlement among the ground workers of the BJP after Tejaswini Ananth Kumar was denied a ticket. In a last minute surprise, the BJP picked Tejasvi Surya to contest from this seat, which is a stronghold of the BJP. He is up against B K Hariprasad of the Congress.

The focus would also be on Tamil Nadu. However the more interesting battle here would be the by-elections to 18 assembly seats. The by-elections would put to test the longevity of the AIADMK government, which will need to win at least 8 to hold on to power. Apart from this the state would also witness an election to the 39 Lok Sabha seats. For now, it is advantage DMK in Tamil Nadu as all poll pundits have predicted.

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