Phase 5 of the Lok Sabha election 2024: Max City, Maha Yudh

It’s the big conclusion of the Maharashtra revenge match, with the NDA vs. India storyline taking center stage. During these Lok Sabha elections, the two Senas will face off in the most intense and personal of battles in and around India’s commercial metropolis. The other major contests include 39 seats that the Bengal NDA must win: 13 of 14 in Uttar Pradesh, 11 of 13 in Maharashtra (apart from two Sena candidates who support the Uddhav group), all 5 in Bihar, all 3 in Jharkhand, all 3 in Odisha, all 3 in West Bengal, and one seat in Ladakh.

Can hope for gains in Odisha and Bengal, which lost 4 of 7 seats in the previous election held today.

INDIA to defend: 7 seats, including 2 of 13 seats in Maharashtra (adding 2 Sena candidates with Uddhav group) and Rae Bareli in UP; 4 of the 7 seats up for election today are in West Bengal.
Can expect wins in: Nearly every state in this round of elections, but especially in Maharashtra, where it has only won three of the thirteen seats up for election today. In Bihar as well, where everything is new.

What this split doesn’t include: The only seat in Jammu & Kashmir that is up for election today cannot be categorized as having been won by any party before since seat boundaries have been redrew since 2019.

Watch these high-stakes matches today
Maharashtra The most intricate political contest of this Lok Sabha election concludes today with a high-stakes Sena vs. Sena bout. For the two main contenders, Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde, who unseat him as chief minister, the fight is as much about political significance as it is about Balasaheb’s legacy and prestige. Out of the thirteen seats up for grabs in today’s state election, six are located in Mumbai, the commercial hub of India and a stronghold of the Sena. Uddhav hopes to garner support from Mumbai voters against Shinde for his alleged “betrayal,” which he claims is dividing the party in two.

The Shinde group is affiliated with Uddhav’s Sena UBT, MVA (Sharad Pawar’s NCP and Congress) and Mahayuti (BJP). Shinde’s native Thane is included in the broader Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which accounts for four of the seats. Shinde is trying to get support for his insurrection here. With two Senas and two NCPs in the mix, the BJP, which performed very well here in 2019, will have an edge, but this is a new playing field for all parties.

Uttar Pradesh: With elections scheduled for today in Phase 6, the state that conducts voting in all seven phases is entering one of its most important voting cycles. Fourteen Awadh seats, including the capital Lucknow, and all of Bundelkhand (Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur, and Banda) will be voting. Except for Rae Bareli, the BJP won all of these seats in 2019. This time, the INDIA alliance (Cong & Samajwadi Party) is hoping for a comeback, with the Gandhi bastion at its core. Other high-profile seats include Kaiserganj, the bastion of controversial former wrestling federation leader Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, and Faizabad, which encompasses Ayodhya. Additionally, pay attention to Mohanlalganj and Fatehpur, since two Union ministers are running from there: Kaushal Kishore and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, respectively.
A look at prominent figures in the fight, including Union ministers, in Lucknow 2019 BJP (Rajnath Singh) has won.

Principal challengers: Ravidas Mehrotra (SP) and Rajnath Singh (BJP)
After a short hiatus, Rajnath Singh, the minister of defence, took on Vajpayee’s legacy in 2014 and is aiming for a hat-trick. From 1991 until 2004, Vajpayee was elected without a break. 2009 saw Lalji Tandon, His Man Friday in Lucknow, win it while toting the figurative “khadau” of Vajpayee. Rajnath moved to the state capital in 2009 after making his LS debut from Ghaziabad in order to fill the enormous shoes of his mentor. Even twenty years after Vajpayee left politics, Rajnath never passes up the chance to draw on his legacy. He has introduced several initiatives to the city aimed at improving the infrastructure and generating employment. Ravidas Mehrotra, a socialist and street fighter from the SP, was first elected to the legislature in 1989. In contrast, his challenge seems weak in the face of Rajnath’s powerful electoral apparatus.

Mumbai North’s 2019 victor, Gopal Shetty of the BJP
Important contenders: Bhushan Patil (Shiv Sena UBT) and Piyush Goyal (BJP)
Piyush Goyal, the Union minister of trade and industry, is a native of Mumbai and is making his first appearance on LS. He is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha. This seat, a BJP stronghold with a notable Gujarati and middle-class Maharashtrian population, was fostered by the party for many years prior to actor Govinda shockingly defeating Ram Naik in 2004. Urmila Matondkar ran for Congress in 2019 from this area, but Gopal Shetty defeated her handily. This time, Uddhav’s Sena, which supported the comparatively low-paid Bhushan Patil, was awarded the seat by Congress. Sena is counting on the pity factor after the death of its former corporator Abhishek Ghosalkar on Facebook Live earlier this year in order to win Marathi, Muslim, and Christian votes. But because of the BJP’s dominance at the grassroots level, this is one seat where the political confusion in the state does not have the same impact as it does elsewhere.

Baramulla: NC (Mohd Akbar Lone) in 2019
Prominent candidates include Sajjad Lone (People’s Conference) and Omar Abdullah (NC).

Omar Abdullah, who moved from the south (Srinagar) to this constituency in north Kashmir, claims he is fighting the “BJP and the Centre,” who are throwing all of their resources into this campaign even though they haven’t produced a candidate in the Valley. The former chief minister has referred to the repeal of Article 370 as a “existential challenge” and is advocating for J&K to regain its complete sovereignty. While Lone, his opponent, refers to Omar as a dynast, a “outsider,” and a “tourist” in Baramulla, he describes Lone as the “B-team of BJP”. Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, also known as Engineer Rashid of the Awami Ittehad Party, enters the fray. He is running for office from Tihar prison, where he has been detained since August 2019 on allegations of financing terrorism. Rashid, a former assistant to Lone, is a concern for both him and PDP candidate Fayaz Mir since he received over a million votes in the last local election and is predicted to reduce their share.

The winner of Hajipur 2019 is LJP, or Pasupati Kumar Paras.
Principal competitors: Shiv Chandra Ram (RJD) and Chirag Paswan (LJP-Ram Vilas).
stronghold of socialism One of the six Lok Sabha seats in Bihar that are set aside for SCs is Hajipur. Throughout his eight years as a representative for this constituency, Ram Vilas Paswan only lost twice: in 1984 and 2009.

The main focus of the Hajipur electoral storyline in recent years has been on who should inherit Paswan’s legacy: his brother Pashupati Kumar Paras, who won from here in 2019 after Paswan promised him the seat, or his son Chirag Paswan. The BJP has made the decision to completely support Chirag, giving his side five seats in Bihar and leaving the Paras camp empty-handed. In 2021, Paswan’s LJP party broke apart. Thus, this is as intense a prestige fight as it gets for Chirag. Though BJP, his partner, has two of the six assembly constituencies, RJD holds three, and Congress has one. PM Modi has advocated for him, but the fight is hard.

Cong, the winner of Rae Bareli 2019 (Sonia Gandhi)
The leading candidates are Thakur Prasad Yadav (BSP), Dinesh Pratap Singh (BJP), and Rahul Gandhi (Cong).

Following a protracted delay, Rahul Gandhi selected Wayanad’s seat with his mother as his second opponent. In 2019, he nearly lost to Smriti Irani of the BJP in the neighboring Amethi, another stronghold of the family. Rae Bareli is seen as the “safer” seat amongst the two. In 1952, Rahul’s grandfather Feroze Gandhi was elected to the Lok Sabha from Rae Bareli. With the exception of the 1977 defeat to Raj Narayan, his grandmother Indira Gandhi served as its representative from 1967 to 1985. From 2004 until 2019, his mother Sonia served as an MP.

As the Congress seeks for a stronger performance in UP, which is crucial to Parliament numbers, Rahul has been endorsed by Akhilesh Yadav, the head of the SP, and other partners of the INDIA alliance. After a disagreement, BJP candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh—a former pointsman for Sonia and a Congress MLC from 2009 to 2018—jumped ship and announced his candidacy for the party in 2019. He reduced Sonia’s winning margin from 3 lakh to 1.7 lakh and is now relying once again on the local power, social programs, and apparatus of the BJP.

Winner of Amethi 2019: BJP (Smriti Irani)
Smriti Irani (BJP) and KL Sharma (Cong) are leading candidates.
Even if it’s not quite the 2019 grudge fight, it seems to be going down to the very end. The Congress surprised everyone by fielding KL Sharma, the Gandhis’ Man Friday in the twin constituency for forty years, from Amethi, while Rahul Gandhi was running from Rae Bareli. In 1983, Sharma traveled to Amethi as a part of Rajiv Gandhi’s youth brigade. After his brother Sanjay Gandhi passed away, Rajiv Gandhi won a by-election and held the seat till his death in 1991.

This is where Sonia Gandhi made her Lok Sabha début in 1999. After moving to Rae Bareli in 2004, she gave Rahul Amethi, who won the seat three times until Smriti Irani shocked everyone in 2019 by losing. Smriti has referred to Rahul as a “deserter” on many occasions throughout the current campaign, but the Congress narrative suggests that the family loyalist has every intention of winning.

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