On April 23, the country will find itself in Phase 3 of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Voters in 14 states and union territories—Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, West Bengal, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli—will head to the polls to elect representatives from 115 constituencies.
Odisha will simultaneously vote in its legislative assembly, while Gujarat, Kerala, Daman and Diu, Goa, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli will conclude voting for all constituencies in the third phase.
Polling will begin at 7 am and end by 6 pm in most states.
Only Assam and some constituencies in Chhattisgarh will close at 5 pm, while Jammu and Kashmir and Odisha will conclude their polling at 4 pm.
Key seats and battles
A number of high-profile politicians will be up for election in phase 3.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi is contesting from the Wayanad constituency in Kerala. He is up against Communist Party of India (CPI) candidate P P Suneer and NDA candidate Tushar Vellapally.
On May 19, Rahul will also contest as an incumbent from Amethi, a historic bastion for his family. His father, former PM Rajiv Gandhi, mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and uncle Sanjay Gandhi have all been elected from Amethi.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigned for Rahul in Wayanad and teased the idea of contesting against PM Modi in Varanasi.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is contesting as an incumbent from Thiruvananthapuram and standing against BJP candidate Rajasekaran and Left Front candidate C Diwakaran.
Kerala’s Pathanamthitta constituency will also be an interesting battle, because it is home to the Sabrimala temple, which has catapulted to controversy as an example of the country’s gender inequality.
BJP’s K Surendran, CPI (Marxist)’s Veena George, and Congress’s Anto Anthony will battle it out for Pathanamthitta later this week.
All 26 seats in Gujarat—Modi’s home state—are up for election as well. BJP President Amit Shah is a first-time candidate replacing veteran L K Advani as the party’s candidate in Gandhinagar.
Former PM and member of the Janata Dal Morarji Desai will be standing for election in Surat. Desai has won from this constituency 23 times and will face-off BJP incumbent Darshana Jardosh.
In Dahod, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Jasvantsinh Bhabor is seeking re-election against Congress’s Babubhai Katara, who won the seat twice as a BJP candidate before he defected to the Congress.
Former Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti will contest from Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir. She is up against Congress candidate Ghulam Ahmad Mir and Jammu and Kashmir National Conference candidate Hasnain Masoodi.
In UP, another member of the Gandhi family will be seeking election.
Varun Gandhi, Sanjay’s son and Rahul and Priyanka’s cousin, is BJP’s candidate in Pilibhit; Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, Varun’s mother, had previously won from there.
Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav also has a stake in the UP election. The BJP and SP are expected to go head to head for 10 seats in UP; in 2014, BJP had won seven of these. However, the area is also considered an SP stronghold.
In 2014, Yadav was elected from the Azamgarh seat and his brother, Tej Pratap Singh, took Mainpuri.
Phase 4 dates and states
In phase 2 of the elections, the EC reported a voter turnout of 61.12%—15.8 crore people, including 7.8 crore women and 8.45 disabled people, came out to vote in a whopping 95 constituencies in 13 different states.
West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, and Puducherry saw the most impressive turnouts, all crossing 72%. However, Jammu and Kashmir reported a low turnout of 43.37%.
The EC also found evidence of cheating and called for re-election in eight Vellore constituencies.
Voters and party workers clashed in sporadic violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Bihar, Manipur, and West Bengal.
However, the EC appreciated the turnout of senior citizens aged over 100 in Sikkim, Manipur, and Assam.
Phase 4 of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is on April 29. Seventy-one constituencies across nine states—Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal—will vote.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius
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