Students in hold placards to encourage voting ahead of the fourth phase of Lok Sabha polls, in Mumbai. (Photographer: Shashank Parade/PTI)

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: A Guide To Phase 4

India is approaching the halfway mark in the ongoing general election with the fourth phase scheduled for Monday. Since the April 18 polling in 117 constituencies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has filed his nomination from the Varanasi seat, Twitter upped its game to tackle rumours by adding a feature to let users report misleading content, actor Sunny Deol and singer Daler Mehndi joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.

With 65.61 percent polling in the previous round, Phase IV of the election is set to be a battle for 71 constituencies spread across nine states.

Here’s a ready reckoner on the states going to vote on April 29, key seats and candidate details.

Key Seats

Bihar

  • Ujiarpur: BJP’s Bihar chief and sitting MP Nityanand Rai will be up against Rashtriya Lok Samta Party Upendra Kushwaha. The latter, who had won the 2014 election from Karakat, was a minister in the Modi government before quitting the NDA in December 2018.
  • Samastipur: Lok Janshakti Party’s Ramchandra Paswan had defeated Congress’ Ashok Kumar by a margin of only 6,000 votes. Crucially that year, votes cast in the None Of The Above option was much larger than the margin of victory, at a record 29,211 votes. Both contestants from 2014 will repeat this year too.
  • Begusarai: Minister of State for micro, small and medium enterprises Giriraj Singh will face Communist Party of India’s Kanhaiya Kumar, and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tanveer Hasan. Kumar, a former Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union leader, was arrested in February 2016 on charges of sedition. This seat has been a swing seat since 1984 and Singh was pitched here to accommodate an LJP candidate in Nawada as a part of the seat-sharing deal.

Madhya Pradesh

  • Jabalpur: The marble-rock city will see BJP state chief Rakesh Singh against Congress’ Vivek Tankha. Singh is seeking a third term as an MP and will try to maintain the BJP’s 23-year winning streak here.
  • Mandla: BJP’s Faggan Singh Kulaste—who gained prominence when currency notes were brandished in Parliament during 2008 trust vote—will take on Congress’ Kamal Maravi. A five-time MP from Mandla, Kulaste’s candidature has been opposed by local workers this time.
  • Balaghat: A BJP fortress since 1998, the party’s Dhal Singh Bisen will go against Congress’ Madhu Bhagat, and independent candidate Bodh Singh Bhagat. The BJP dropped its incumbent MP Bodh Singh Bhagat – who is now contesting as an independent candidate.
  • Chhindwara: The naxal-affected district will see Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath represent the Congress to contest against BJP’s Nathan Singh. Kamal Nath had represented the seat since 1980, except in 1997 when former CM Sunder Lal Patwa won a by-poll.

Maharashtra

This is the last phase in the state and 17 constituencies will go to the polls.

  • Dhule: BJP’s Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre will contest Congress’ Kunal Patil. The seat has been won by BJP since 1996.
  • Mumbai North: BJP’s Gopal Shetty is pitted against actress-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar of the Congress. Shetty’s 2014 victory was the BJP’s first win from the constituency in 10 years. In that election, he defeated Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam by over four lakh votes. Shetty has a track record of 100 percent attendance in the Parliament. 2014 NOTA Polled: 8,758 votes.
  • Mumbai North Central: This seat will see a contest between daughters of former politicians. Incumbent BJP MP Poonam Mahajan will take on Congress’ Priya Dutt. Dutt had won the seat in a by-election in 2005 after her father’s death, and had retained it in 2009. 2014 NOTA Polled: 6,937 votes.
  • Mumbai North West: Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar and Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam are vying for the seat. Kirtikar had defeated Congress’ Gurudas Kamat in 2014, turning the tables on a 2009 contest, when Kamat had trumped Kirtikar. NOTA Polled: 11,009 votes.
  • Mumbai North East: Nationalist Congress Party’s Sanjay Dina Patil will be up against BJP’s replacement for Kirit Somaiya – Manoj Kotak. Shiv Sena had protested against Somaiya being the BJP’s choice for this seat. Kotak is a member of state legislative council for the BJP. 2014 NOTA Polled: 7,114 votes.
  • Mumbai South Central: A Shiv Sena stronghold, Rahul Shewale will contest Congress’ Eknath Gaikwad. The Sena had held this seat for 20 years until 2009 when Gaikwad broke the trend. He, however, lost the 2014 election. 2014 NOTA Polled: 9,571 votes.
  • Mumbai South: Sitting Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant and Congress’ Milind Deora will repeat their 2014 contest Deora, who has been endorsed by Mukesh Ambani, had lost to Sawant in the previous election, after serving as MP for two terms, in 2004 and 2009. 2014 NOTA Polled: 9,573 votes.
  • Maval: Shiv Sena’s Shrirang Barne seeks a second term and will be challenged by NCP’s Parth Pawar. Parth is the son of former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar, who is the nephew of party chief Sharad Pawar.

Odisha

  • Bhadrak: BJP’s Abhimanyu Sethi, Congress’ Madhumita Sethi, and Biju Janata Dal’s Manjulata Mandal are in the fray in this phase. Abhimanyu Sethi is the son of eight-time MP Arjun Charan Sethi who has won on various party tickets – Congress (1971, 1980), Janata Dal (1996) and BJD (1998-Present). Madhumita Sethi is the daughter of former MP Ananta Prasad Sethi, who was the Congress MP in 1984, while Manjulata is the wife of Dhamnagar MLA Mukti Mandal.
  • Kendrapara: Defecting from the BJD, Baijayant Panda will contest this seat on a BJP ticket and will be against famous Odia actor and BJD’s pick Anubhav Mohanty. Also in the fray is Congress’ Dharanidhar Nayak.

Rajasthan

  • Pali: BJP’s Union Minister of State for Law and Justice and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs PP Chaudhary will seek a second term against Congress’ Badri Ram Jakhar.
  • Jodhpur: BJP’s Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot from the Congress are in the run. Ashok Gehlot has been a five-time MP from Jodhpur.
  • Barmer: The BJP dropped four-time sitting MP Colonel Sonaram Chaudhary to pitch Kailash Choudhry against Congress’ Manvendra Singh. Sonaram had defected from the Congress before 2014, before which he was was a three-time MP (1996-2004) from Barmer. Manvendra Singh, who joined the Congress right before the Rajasthan state polls last year, was a BJP MP from 2004-2009, and is the son of former BJP leader Jaswant Singh. This is India’s second-largest constituency in terms of area.
  • Jhalawar-Baran: Former CM Vasundhara Raje’s son and four-time MP Dushyant Singh will represent the BJP against Congress’ Pramod Sharma. Sharma was a former BJP leader who defected to the Congress.

Uttar Pradesh

  • Unnao: Religious leader and sitting BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj will contest Congress’ Annu Tandon, and Samajwadi Party’s Arun Kumar Shukla. Sakshi Maharaj had famously quipped earlier that he would curse those who don’t vote for him. Tandon had won the seat in 2009.
  • Farrukhabad: In a bid to seek re-election, BJP MP Mukesh Rajput will fight Congress leader Salman Khurshid, and Mahagathbandhan’s pick Manoj Agarwal. Khurshid was been the MP from 1991-96, and then from 2009-2014.
  • Kannauj: SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav seeks a third-term as MP and will fight BJP’s Subrat Pathak. Dimple had won the 2014 poll by just over 20,000 votes against Subrat Pathak. Mulayam Singh Yadav, who won in 1999, gave up the seat for son Akhilesh who won the by-poll in 2000 and went on to represent the seat till 2012 before becoming chief minister. Dimple has represented the seat since then.

West Bengal

  • Baharampur: Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, BJP’s Krishna Arya, and Trinamool Congress’ MLA Apurba Sarkar are in the fray for the seat. Chowdhury, who is the state party chief, has been an MP since 1999. The seat has never voted for either the Left or the TMC and has only elected members of Revolutionary Socialist Party or the Congress.
  • Asansol: This seat will see singer-turned-politician and BJP’s pick Babul Supriyo contesting veteran actress and TMC’s Moon Moon Sen. Supriyo is the Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises while Sen is the sitting MP from Bankura. This is one of the three seats won by the BJP in West Bengal in 2014.

Criminal Cases

The National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms analysed self-sworn affidavits of 928 of the total 943 candidates.

Here’s a breakup of all the candidates contesting in the fourth phase:

  • National parties: 207
  • State parties: 49
  • Registered unrecognised parties: 338
  • Independent: 349

In this phase, 23 percent candidates, or 210, have a criminal case lodged against them.

Nearly one out of every three candidates in Bihar is a serious offender
The state, which has a history of booth capturing, has 36 percent candidates who are criminals.
  • In this phase, 17 percent of the candidates face serious criminal charges entailing a punishment of at least five years, the survey showed. These include kidnapping, murder, rape, and offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • The BJP has fielded 20 candidates with serious criminal charges, while more than half of its ally Shiv Sena’s candidates are history-sheeters.
  • Eight out of nine candidates fielded by the Communist Part of India (Marxist) face criminal charges, and on the hand.

Red Alert Constituencies

  • There are 37 constituencies in this phase where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
Maharashtra tops the list with 15 out of 17 constituencies on ‘red alert’.
  • Maharashtra’s Kalyan constituency has 10 candidates who are criminals, while nine are law offenders in its Mumbai North-East and Shirdi constituencies, respectively.

Also read: Lok Sabha Elections 2019: A Guide To Phase 3

Asset, Tax Check

One out of every three candidates in this phase is a crorepati.
The average asset per candidate comes down to Rs 4.53 crore in this phase.
  • There are 306 candidates with assets valued at Rs 1 crore or more.
  • The country’s biggest parties— Congress and BJP— have 88 percent crorepatis each as their top pick for seats.
  • A Congress nominee is worth Rs 29.03 crore on an average while the figure for BJP stands at Rs 13.63 crore. Twenty-one Shiv Sena candidates have assets worth Rs 17.85 crore.
  • Congress’ Nakul Nath, who is contesting from the naxal region of Chhindwara, has total assets worth Rs 660 crore, which is more than five times that of the second richest candidate in this phase.
  • Congress Mumbai North Central candidate Priya Dutt—daughter of former actor-turned-politician Sunil Dutt—has the highest income of Rs 13 crore, as per income tax return declaration.
The Rs 107-crore worth of liabilities of Odisha’s Navajyoti Patnaik are more than 60,000 times that of the total assets of the top ten candidates with the lowest assets.
  • There are 459 candidates in this phase who have declared liabilities. The top three candidates with the highest liabilities belong to the Congress.
  • The candidate with the lowest declared assets in this phase is Rajasthan’s Jhalawar Bharan candidate Prince Kumar. He has declared assets worth Rs 500.
  • There are three candidates in this phase who have declared ‘zero assets.’

Also read: Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Guide To Phase 2

Education, Age

  • This phase has 404 candidates, or 44 percent of the total contenders who have educational qualifications between 5th and 12th grade.
21 percent, or 201 candidates in the fourth phase are graduates. This compares to 43 percent such candidates in the previous phase. There are 162 post-graduates, too. 
  • Nine candidates are illiterate, while 34 candidates were educated enough to be deemed literate.
  • More than half of the candidates contesting on Monday age between 41 years and 50 years, followed by the aspirants in the age group of 25-40 years. There is only one octogenarian in this phase.
  • Only 10 percent, or 96 candidates of the total fielded in this phase are women. That’s the highest representation of women in the election phases so far.