71 Lok Sabha seats to vote in fourth phase today, all eyes on celebrity contests
New Delhi, Apr 29: The fourth phase of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 will take place on April 29 to choose 71 members across eight states. With the votes being already cast for 302 seats, it will be interesting how the electorate casts their vote in the second half of General Elections 2019.
The voter turnout in the first three phases of 2019 Lok Sabha Polls have been decent so far, and how it changes in the subsequent fourth to seventh phase elections will be an intriguing watch. The fourth phase voting will take place in parts of Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Here is a look at the crucial battle in this phase:
Mumbai North, Maharashtra
Face-off: Urmila Shrikant Matondkar (Congress), Gopal Chinnaya Shetty (BJP)
Mumbai North is one of the crucial seats among 17 seats, which will see polling in the fourth phase on April 29. Sitting BJP MP Gopal Chinayya Shetty is attempting to get re-elected in 2019 in a direct fight with actress-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar of the Congress party. Mumbai North comprises of six assembly seats- Malad West, Borivali, Dahisar, Charkop, Kandivali East and Magathane.
In 2014 BJP's Gopal Chinnaya Shetty had defeated Congress candidate Sanjay Nirupam with record 47. 18 per cent margin in Modi wave.
Mumbai South, Maharashtra
Face-off: Milind Deora (Congress), Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena)
Former Union minister and Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora is taking on Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant. Milind had held this seat from 2004 to 2014. The constituency was earlier represented by Milind's father Murli Deora.
In 2014, it was Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant who won with a victory margin of over 120,000+ votes over the second placed Congress' Milind Deora, who garnered 246,045 votes. The third-placed MNS' Bala Nandgaonkar got a vote margin of 19.87% votes. Who's seat will it be this time?
Face-off: Rajendra Gavit (Shiv Sena), Raju Lade (Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi)
This constituency was created after in 2008 following the delimitation exercise and has been dominated by the Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi (BVA) and the BJP.
The seat of Palghar will witness a two-way fight between Rajendra Gavit of Shiv Sena and Raju Lade of Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi (BVA).
In 2014, the incumbent MP Baliram Jadhav lost to BJP's Chintaman Vanaga by over 2 lakh votes. In the 2018 by-elections after Vanaga's death, the BJP fielded former Congress state minister much to the angst of its partner Shiv Sena. The Sena wanted to field Vanaga's son instead. Gavit emerged victorious, albeit a reduced margin of under 30,000 votes.
Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir
Face-off: Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), Hasnain Masoodi (NC) and Ghulam Ahmad Mir (Congress)
This is the only seat in the country that is voting in three phases. A section of this constituency has already voted in the third phase. However, the voter turnout there was under 15 percent.
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti is contesting from this seat, which she had won in 2014. She had also held it between 2004 and 2009. Since the formation of the PDP party in 1999, four districts of South Kashmir have become the PDP's bastion, but now the party is fighting for survival and hoping that Mehbooba will win, which would boost the otherwise demoralised cadres of the PDP.
Anantnag will witness a triangular contest between Mehbooba Mufti, NC candidate Justice Hasnain Masoodi (retd) and Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir.
Face off: Naveen Patnaik(BJD), Baijayant Panda (BJP)
This seat will witness a battle between chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his friend-turned-foe, Baijayant Panda. The seat has been held by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) since 1998 and has been represented by Baijayant Panda since 2009. Panda is now contesting on a BJP ticket.
He was considered to be a close associate of BJD chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and had won in 2014 with a margin of over 2 lakh votes. This has led the BJP, which finished a distant third in 2014, to believe that it could wrest it from the Naveen Patnaik-led party.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Baijayant Panda of the BJD triumphed over Dharanidhar Nayak of the Congress by a margin of 2,09,108 or 18.3 per cent. The constituency witnessed a voter turnout of 73.4 per cent. However, Panda, who was among the founding members of BJD, quit the party last year following a bitter fall-out with the chief minister.
Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Face-off: Sriprakash Jaiswal (Congress), Satyadev Pachauri (BJP) and Ram Kumar (SP)
Kanpur is a high-profile seat where the BJP has dropped sitting MP senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who had defeated Congress candidate Sriprakash Jaiswal, in the last election. This time, the BJP has fielded Satyadev Pachauri against Congress veteran and three-time winner Sriprakash Jaiswal. The SP-BSP candidate is pushing Uttar Pradesh's industrial capital into a triangular contest.
Unnao, Uttar Pradesh
Face -off: Sakshi Maharaj (BJP), Annu Tandon (Congress) and Pooja Pal (SP)
This seat will witness a three-way contest between BJP, Samajwadi Party (SP), and Congress.
Senior BJP leader and current sitting Member of Parliament (MP) Sakshi Maharaj is facing two formidable opponents in former MP and Congress leader Annu Tandon and Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Pooja Pal for the Unnao seat.
In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, BJP's Sakshi Maharaj Sakshi Maharaj was elected MP from the seat after securing an overwhelming victory over Samajwadi Party (SP) runner up Arun Shankar by more than 3 lakh votes. Sakshi Maharaj secured 5.18 lakh votes at 43.18 per cent vote share compared to runner up Arun Shankar's 2.08 lakh votes at 17.37 per cent vote share.
Asansol, West Bengal
Face-off: Babul Supriyo (BJP), Moon Moon Sen (Trinamool Congress)
The constituency of Asansol in West Bengal will see a two-way fight between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).
Union Minister and BJP's singer-turned-politician Babul Supriyo is the sitting MP there. He has been re-nominated by the party. To counter this, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress has fielded actress-turned-politician Moon Moon Sen.
Sen has been called a 'giant slayer' after she defeated nine-time MP Basudeb Acharia in the Left bastion of Bankura in 2014.
In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, it was Babul Supriyo who turned heads with his rousing victory in Asansol. He not only defeated two-time MP Bansa Gopal Chowdhury of Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M), but also defeated the second-placed Trinamool Congress' candidate Dola Sen by over 50,000 votes.