On May 12, voters in six states and one union territory will head to the polls to elect their representatives. 57 constituencies in Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi will be up for polls.
In phase six of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, over 10.17 crore voters are eligible to vote, including five crore men, four crore women, and 3,281 transgender individuals.
Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and NCT of Delhi have the most number of candidates contesting for the elections: 223, 177, and 164, respectively.
In phase 6, UP has the most number of seats up for grabs—14.
Narendra Modi, Sadhvi Pragya, Maneka Gandhi, Sheila Dikshit, Atishi, Gautum Gambhir, and Akhilesh Yadav are among the high-profile candidates standing for election in phase six.
Key seats in phase 6
Haryana’s Sirsa constituency is posing a challenge to the BJP who is facing off against the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).
The Sirsa constituency usually changes hands between the Congress and INLD. In 2014, INLD won the seat. However, the Jan-nayak Janata Party has broken off as an offshoot from the INLD, leading some experts to believe that the the INLD’s support will now be divided.
Hence, both, the BJP and Congress have been courting votes in this constituency.
Modi and BJP’s new star member Sunny Deol held a rally in Sirsa, along with Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Congress campaigner Navjot Singh Sidhu, known for as a cricket commentator and reality tv judge.
Madhya Pradesh’s Guna constituency will also be an interesting battle. Jyotiraditya Scindia won the Congress ticket over K.P. Yadav, who defected to the BJP earlier this year.
MP’s Bhopal constituency will also turn into a battleground between Congress’ Digvijay Singh and BJP’s Sadhvi Pragya.
Pragya is one of the main accused in the 2008 Malegaon bombing that killed 10 people. She is currently on bail to contest the Lok Sabha elections 2019. Her nomination by the BJP has sparked severe criticism because she is on trial for terrorism.
Uttar Pradesh will witness a three-way battle between the Samajwadi Party, Congress, and BJP.
Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, is standing for election in UP’s Sultanpur constituency. Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav is also contesting from Azamgarh, a stronghold for the party in UP.
In Morena, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar is contesting against the Congress’ Ram Niwas Rawat, who was nominated by the party despite losing the 2018 Assembly elections.
Varanasi is also a high-profile constituency where PM Modi is contesting for re-election.
Tej Bahadur, a former BSF jawan who was dismissed for posting a video criticising the quality of food served to the armed forces, has moved the Supreme Court after his application to contest against Modi as a BSP candidate was rejected.
The Election Commission states that those who have been fired from governmental jobs cannot contest in the Lok Sabha elections for five years after their dismissal, unless they obtain a certificate of no-objection by the EC.
As Tej Bahadur had not acquired this certificate, his application was rejected.
Prominent lawyer Prashant Bhushan represented Tej Bahadur in the SC and argued that he was not dismissed on grounds of “corruption or disloyalty to the state”, which is the disqualifier for candidates who were fired from their governmental positions.
However, the SC has stated that there is no “merit” to Tej Bahadur’s plea and he cannot contest against Modi in Varanasi.
North east and east Delhi constituencies have also come under the spotlight this election season.
In north east Delhi, the Congress has put up Sheila Dikshit, who has been Delhi chief minister three times, against BJP’s Manoj Tewari and AAP’s Dilip Pandey. There were rumblings of an AAP and Congress alliance, which was predicted to beat out the BJP. However, the parties were unable to reach an agreement.
Rahul Gandhi also tweeted about the potential alliance and said, “The Congress is willing to give up 4 Delhi seats to the AAP to ensure this. But, Mr Kejriwal has done yet another U turn!”
In east Delhi, AAP candidate Atishi will be standing against BJP candidate and cricketer Gautam Gambhir in a much-awaited election.
Atishi has been credited with transforming Delhi’s education infrastructure as an advisor to Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia. She also dropped her last name, Marlena, to avoid polarisation over religious beliefs in the Hindu belt.
Despite his star status, Gautam Gambhir has been on the defensive with Atishi— he rejected her offer for an open debate and has been accused of distributing defamatory pamphlets about her.
The Lok Sabha elections 2019 are made up of seven phases. After another round of voting on May 12, only phase 7 will be left ahead of the results.
On May 19, phase 7 will see 59 constituencies in eight states head to the polls. Voters in Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal will be casting their ballots.
The model code of conduct will be in force until May 23, when the EC is expected to declare results.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius.