After the high-octane battle in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, focus is now on the counting day. Spread across seven phases, the bitterly contested Lok Sabha election spanned from April 11 to May 19. As the results trickle in today, here is a list of key candidates that you need to watch out for.
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Polling schedule, results date, constituency-wise results, FAQs, key candidates
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contesting from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat for the second time. Fighting against him are Congress’ Ajay Rai, and Shalini Yadav of the SP-BSP Mahagathbandhan. Modi had won the seat with a huge margin in 2014. Even before Modi, Varanasi had been a BJP stronghold, with the party retaining it consistently since 1991 except in 2004, when the Congress’s Rajesh Kumar Mishra had won. Varanasi, which went to polls on May 19 during the last phase of Lok Sabha polls, saw a voter turnout of 57.81 per cent. The constituency had seen a 58.31 per cent voter turnout in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections
In probably one of the most controversial ticket distributions, the BJP in Bhopal has fielded 2008 Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur against Congress’ Digvijaya Singh, whom the saffron party accuses of “propagating the idea of Hindu terror.” Since her candidature, Thakur, a hardline Hindutva figure, has had a lot of ‘foot in the mouth’ moments – from her remarks on police officer Hemant Karkare to Nathuram Godse – forcing the party to seek a report. Singh, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister has been given the mammoth task of bringing Congress to power in this BJP bastion. Congress has not won Bhopal Lok Sabha seat since 1989.
Amethi, which is the traditional stronghold of the Congress party, voted in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 6. The key candidates of the seat are Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BJP’s Smriti Irani. In Amethi, where Gandhi is seeking re-election for the fourth consecutive time, Irani has put forth a tough competition. In 2014, Irani brought down Rahul’s victory margin to just over a lakh. She also aggressively flagged Gandhi’s decision to contest from a second seat — Wayanad in Kerala — calling it an insult to the people of Amethi. On the other hand, Rahul had whipped up the Congress’ emotional connect with Amethi to counter the BJP and recently in a letter, the Congress chief had addressed the voters as part of his “pariwar” and Amethi as his “karmabhoomi”.
In Begusarai, it is the clash of firebrands. In a three-cornered fight, BJP’s Giriraj Singh has locked horns with RJD’s Tanweer Hassan and political debutant Kanhaiya Kumar. The CPI is banking on the former JNU student leader to revive the Left in this seat that was once its bastion and is often called as the ‘Leningrad of Bihar’. While Singh and Kumar belong to the upper caste Bhumihar community – a dominant force in the area, Hassan is believed to be a popular face among the Yadav’s and Muslims. In 2014, BJP managed to make inroads into the seat for the first time, defeating Tanveer Hassan by over 60,000 votes. Giriraj Singh, who was miffed with the BJP for changing his candidature from Nawada to Begusarai, is now likely to be walking away with the cake, as per the exit poll predictions. On the other hand, a slew of celebrities Javed Akhtar, Swara Bhaskar, Prakash Raj, Jignesh Mevani among others lined up to campaign for Kanhaiya Kumar.
Patna Sahib saw a tight contest between Union IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from the BJP and actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha who joined Congress on March 28 this year. Both the leaders belong to the Hindu Kayastha community, whose population is over 7.5 lakh in the constituency. In 2014, Sinha – then a BJP candidate – beat Kunal Singh of Congress.
In Nagpur, BJP’s Nitin Gadkari will fight it out against Nana Patole, a former BJP MP, who is now contesting on a Congress ticket. Nagpur is also home to the RSS headquarters and the Sangh Parivar. Despite this, Gadkari is the only second BJP leader to win a Lok Sabha poll from here. Thus, the contest this time is not only Gadkari’s re-election bid but also a test to see how the RSS has expanded its clout under the Modi regime. In 2014, Gadkari won by a margin of 2.85 lakh votes and is confident of a massive victory this time too.
This Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi contested from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala in addition to his Amethi constituency. Rahul is pitted against PP Suneer of the CPI and Thushar Vellappally of the NDA. BJP had slammed Rahul for contesting from this constituency. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “The Congress dynast went out with a microscope to look for a safe seat to contest and selected a seat where the majority is in minority). Wayanad, which is the Congress-safe seat, is currently held by M I Shanavas of the party. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, M I Shanavas beat Sathyan Mokeri of CPI by receiving 41.20 per cent of the votes cast. This is the first time that a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family will fight from Kerala.
Actor-turned-politician and BJP leader Kirron Kher and four-time Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal of the Congress will fight it out in Chandigarh. Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Harmohan Dhawan. While Chandigarh traditionally belonged to the Congress – with Bansal winning it four times between 1991 to 2009, the BJP in 2014 paradropped Kher and she swung the tide towards the saffron party.
SP’s Azam Khan and BJP’s Jaya Prada will clash in Rampur. The Congress, which has fielded Sanjay Kapoor, is expected to cut into the BJP Hindu votes, making Jaya Prada’s job tougher. Azam Khan’s “Khaki underwear” jibe against Jaya Prada got him an EC notice and is also expected to affect his vote share, exit polls show. A little over 50 per cent of the electorate in Rampur is Muslim.
After a colourful campaign – her pictures with sickles and tractors trended on the internet – BJP’s Hema Malini is expecting to continue her dream run in Mathura. Her win in 2014 polls had surprised many as she had defeated Jat leader Jayant Chaudhary. In the previous polls, the Dream Girl’s charm was such that the SP and BSP had got just 3 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively. But in 2019, not everyone seems to be impressed with the actress. She was criticised for not stepping down from the comforts of her car and meeting people while campaigning as well as for not offering prayers at the famed Mathura temple. This time, she is pitted against Narendra Singh of the RLD, which is a part of the alliance with the SP and BSP, and Mahesh Pathak of the Congress.
For more than two-and-a-half years, Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected representative and the election in this single parliamentary seat was held in three phases due to security concerns. Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti faces an uphill task to retain her home turf. The outcome of this election will not only determine the People’s Democratic Party president’s political career, but also the party’s future. The turnout in the seat, however, has been abysmal – with one of the phases recording only 2.8 per cent. While 18 candidates are in the fray, the Anantnag seat is likely to see a triangular contest between Mufti, state Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir and National Conference’s Hasnain Masoodi, a retired high court judge who recently entered politics.
In Gandhinagar, the BJP replaced Lal Krishna Advani with BJP president Amit Shah this year, marking the end of the veteran party leader’s electoral career and signalling the emergence of the third generation of party leaders in the BJP. The Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat was won by L K Advani six times since 1991, barring the 1996 Lok Sabha polls. Shah is contesting against C J Chavda of Congress.
Held by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lucknow remains a crucial seat for BJP as the party has not lost any Lok Sabha election for last 28 years. With around 13% Muslim population — all parties are trying to woo the Muslim community. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is seeking re-election from Lucknow and will be up against new entrant and SP-BSP-RLD alliance candidate Poonam Sinha and Congress’ self-styled spiritual guru Pramod Krishnam.
Tejasvi Surya is the BJP’s candidate in Bangalore South, a seat that the party has held since 1991. After the death of six-term MP Ananth Kumar, the BJP state unit backed the candidature of his wife Tejaswini in Bangalore South but the central command chose Surya, the “millennial Modi fanboy”. Rumours surfaced that an unhappy Tejaswini went around distributing handbills asking voters to press NOTA — a charge she has denied. Now after years, the Congress sniffs a chance in the seat because of the internal divisions in the BJP and has fielded Rajya Sabha MP B K Hariprasad. Soon after his name was announced, Tejasvi has been making news for his discourse on Hindutva and polarising speeches. He also got an injunction order barring 49 media houses from publishing defamatory content against him. The gag order was later set aside by Karnataka High Court.
The East Delhi Lok Sabha Constituency is seeing a tight contest between cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir of BJP, Atishi of AAP and Arvinder Singh Lovely of Congress. The seat is currently held by BJP’s Maheish Girri of BJP who had won by defeating AAP’s Rajmohan Gandhi in 2014. The seat recorded a voter turnout of 57.3 per cent. During campaigning, Atishi had accused Gambhir of distributing across the constituency a pamphlet containing derogatory remarks on her personal life. Denying the allegations, Gambhir had sent a defamation notice to AAP leaders.
Actor Sunny Deol will make his political debut in Gurdaspur, against sitting MP Sunil Jhakar, AAP’s Peter Masih and PDA’s Lal Chand. Jakhar had won the seat in a bypoll in 2017 after then sitting MP and veteran actor Vinod Khanna died. Khanna, a BJP leader, represented Gurdaspur for four terms and Deol hopes to wrest the seat from Congress. Sunny’s candidature has also been generating buzz after his father Dharmendra said he wouldn’t have let Deol contest had he known that Sunil Jakhar was against him. “Balram Jakhar (Sunil’s father) gave me the first basic lessons in politics,” Dharmendra said, adding that he had refused to contest against Balram from Churu because of his “good relations” with Jakhar senior.
In her debut election in 12 years of career in politics, DMK MP Kanimozhi (daughter of former Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi) is pitted against BJP State President Tamilisai Soundararajan in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi constituency (also called Tuticorin). The campaigning for the polls ended on a bitter note with Income Tax raids at leaders of the opposition party, including Kanimozhi. The search triggered a political row with Kanimozhi saying she was being targeted because she represents the Opposition alliance. The violence in Tuticorin during the Sterlite copper smelter plant, which resulted in the death of 13 people due to police firing has dented the chances of BJP here.
Azamgarh, one of the high-profile seats in eastern Uttar Pradesh, is considered a bastion of the Samajwadi Party. This time, Akhilesh Yadav is pitted against BJP candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav “Nirauha”, who contested an election for the first time. In the 2014 polls, the SP founder and Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav had won the seat by defeating BJP’s candidate Ramakant Yadav, who is now with the Congress. The veteran leader had managed to get 35.4% votes while the BJP’s Ramakant Yadav had got 28.85%. BSP’s Shah Alam had managed to come a close third.
In 2014, out of the 14 seats, the BJP had won 12, while its ally Apna Dal and the Samajwadi Party (SP) had won one seat each – Pratapgarh and Azamgarh, respectively. In 2019, the BSP contested 11, while the SP contested 3 on behalf of the gathbandhan.
The BJP has pitted Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan from Gorakhpur against Congress’ Madhusudan Tripathi and Rambhual Nishad of the Samajwadi Party. Gorakhpur MP Pravin Nishad, who had won the seat on an SP ticket in bypolls last year, has joined the BJP. The party has fielded him from Sant Kabir Nagar seat.
Gorakhpur was with the BJP since 1991 and Chief Minister Adityanath had been a five-time MP from the parliamentary seat. But after he became the chief minister, the BJP lost the seat to Praveen Nishad in bypolls. He had fought on a Samajwadi Party ticket with the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
This constituency is a Congress bastion where UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is seeking re-election for the fifth time in a row. She is pitted against BJP candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh, who recently switched sides from the Congress. The Grand Alliance of BSP-SP-RLD did not field any candidate from the seat this Lok Sabha election. Rae Bareli has been a Congress pocket borough represented by Feroz Gandhi and Indira Gandhi. In 2014, Sonia defeated BJP’s Ajay Agarwal by over three lakh votes.
Puri will see a fight between BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra, Congress candidate Satya Prakash Nayak and incumbent BJD MP Pinaki Mishra. Puri is one of the constituencies in 21-seat Odisha. In 2014, Puri had 1,404,581 registered electors – 742,939 male and 661,642 female.
Arunachal Pradesh is one of the four states that had simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The key leaders fielded by BJP are Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju who is seeking a re-election from Arunachal West. Rijiju is up against National People Party’s Khyoda Apik, Congress candidate Nabam Tuki, and Jarjum Ete of the JD(S).
BJP’s incumbent MP and Manoj Tiwari is up against former three-time Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit for the Northeast Delhi seat and has already said that her entry has made the poll contest “one of the most interesting in the country”. AAP’s Dilip Pandey is also in the fray from the seat. Tiwari and Pandey are Purvanchalis. This makes it one of the most closely contested seats in Delhi.
With the number of candidates higher than what the EVMs can accommodate, Nizamabad has 185 candidates including over 170 farmers in the fray. The farmers had filed their nominations from Nizamabad as a mark of their protest, alleging that the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi had failed to ensure Minimum Support Price for turmeric and red jowar (sorghum) produce and in getting a turmeric board established in Nizamabad.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter and sitting MP Kavitha is seeking re-election from the constituency. K Kavitha had recently said that the regional parties not aligned with the Congress and the BJP will get 120-plus seats in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, and may hold the key to government formation.
Hamirpur constituency has largely been a BJP stronghold since the 1980s with former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal holding sway as a three-time MP. Dhumal had vacated his seat in 2008 for the post of Chief Minister. His son, Anurag Thakur, took over from him as BJP MP from Hamirpur.
Former BCCI chief and three-time BJP MP from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur, is contesting against Congress candidate Ram Lal Thakur, a five-time MLA who won the Sri Naina Deviji seat in the 2017 Assembly polls. Anurag Thakur had defeated Rajinder Singh Rana by more than 98,000 votes in the 2014 election.
In Raipur, the fight is between Sunil Kumar Soni of BJP and Pramod Dubey of Congress. The seat is currently held by Ramesh Bais of BJP, who had beat Satya Narayan Sharma (Sattu Bhaiyya) of Congress by receiving 52.40 per cent of the votes cast. Raipur is one of the constituencies in 11-seat Chhattisgarh. At the time of the previous Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Raipur had 1,904,230 registered electors — 979,133 male and 925,097 female. The constituency had seen a 65.69 per cent voter turnout in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha Constituency of Maharashtra, the contest is again between BJP’s Poonam Mahajan and Congress’ Priya Dutt Sunil. In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Mahajan had defeated Dutt. While Dutt had managed to draw crowds after her brother Sanjay Dutt campaigned for her, there had been no massive groundswell of support in her favour.