Lok Sabha 2019: A Guide To Phase 6
India will go into its penultimate phase of polling on Sunday, inching closer to the May 23 counting day. Voters will cast ballots in 59 constituencies across seven states, including the National Capital Region, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Last week, 62.65 percent voters turned out to vote in phase V polls. Since the May 6 polls, the country has seen the Election Commission hand out more clean chits to Prime Minister Modi, who dragged Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s late father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. AAP’s Atishi broke down in a press conference as she alleged her rival BJP’s Gautam Gambhir of distributing pamphlets which malign and shame her and her party leaders.
Here are the key seats to watch out for in this phase:
- Purvi Champaran: BJP’s Radha Mohan Singh will take on Akash Kumar Singh of the RSLP and Rajeev Ranjan Srivastava of the Janta Dal Rashtrawadi. Singh, agriculture minister in the Modi-led cabinet, is seeking a third term, while Srivastava returned from Singapore to join politics.
- Vaishali: Five-time parliamentarian who lost in 2014— RJD’s Raghuvansh Prasad Singh— will challenge LJP’s Veena Devi, the sitting Member of Parliament from Munger and the wife of rebel leader Surajbhan Singh.
- Siwan: The NDA decided to not repeat the two-time sitting MP Om Prakash Yadav from this seat and gave the ticket to the wife of strongman Ajay Singh— Kavita Singh. She will contest against RJD’s Heena Shahab. Kavita is two-time MLA from Daraundha seat while Shahab is the wife of strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin, who represented the seat from 1996-2004. He is legally barred from contesting elections and is lodged in the Tihar Jail.
- Sirsa: Indian National Lok Dal’s Charanjit Singh Rori—who is seeking a second-term as an MP— is up against BJP’s Sunita Duggal, and Congress’ Ashok Tanwar. While Tanwar won the seat in 2009, Duggal is a former IRS officer who joined the BJP in 2014. Also in the fray is Nirmal Singh Malhadi from the Jannayak Janta Party.
- Hisar: It is a battle among JJP founder—the youngest MP ever Dushyant Chautala, Congress’ Bhavya Bishnoi and BJP’s Birjendra Singh. Chautala is the grandson of INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala and had won in 2014 on an INLD ticket. Much like his father, he was suspended by his grandfather for anti-party activities, which paved the way to the formation of JJP. Also in the fray is INLD’s Suresh Koth. Congress’ Bhavya has a tryst with the party since his father Kuldeep Bishnoi was the founder of the Haryana Janhit Congress which later merged with the Congress. Bhavya is a graduate in economics and public policy from Oxford. BJP’s Brijendra Singh—a former IAS officer and Rahul Gandhi’s classmate— is the son of Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh.
- Rohtak: Former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s son Deepender Singh Hooda will seek a fourth term on a Congress ticket. He will be pitted against BJP’s Arvind Sharma— a former Congress MP— and JJP’s Pradeep Deshwal. Since 1952, the Hooda family has represented Rohtak eight times. Deepender's grandfather Ranbir Singh Hooda was the first MP from the seat and represented it till 1962.
- Gurugram: The erstwhile Gurgaon again became a Lok Sabha seat in 2009 post the delimitation process. BJP’s Rao Inderjit Singh has won both the elections since then—once as a Congress candidate, and the other on a BJP ticket. A minister in the Hooda government and a former Indian Army captain Ajay Singh Yadav is the Congress’ pick for this seat this year. INLD has pitched Virender Rana.
- Faridabad: BJP’s Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar seeks a second term against Congress’ Avtar Singh Bhadana and the Aam Aadmi Party’s Naveen Jaihind. While Bhadana has represented this seat from 2004-14, AAP is looking to make inroads into Haryana with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal holding roadshows for Jaihind.
- Dhanbad: Seeking a second term as a BJP parliamentarian, Pashupati Nath Singh will contest against Congress’ Kirti Azad, who is the son of former Bihar CM Bhagwat Jha Azad. Kirti Azad was a three-time MP from Darbhanga when he was with the BJP before being suspended in 2015.
National Capital Territory of Delhi
- Chandni Chowk: BJP’s Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Environment Harsh Vardhan seeks re-election against AAP’s Pankaj Gupta and the Congress’ Jai Parkash Aggarwal. Gupta was an IT professional before joining AAP in 2012 and has served as the party’s national secretary. Aggarwal was an MP from North-East Delhi from 2009-2014.
- North-East Delhi: BJP’s state-unit president Manoj Tiwari seeks a second term and will contest against Congress’ three-time former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and AAP’s Dilip Pandey. Tiwari had won in 2014 by a margin of 1.4 lakh votes. Dikshit, former governor of Kerala, was summoned again to resurrect the Congress in Delhi. Congress’ Arvinder Singh Lovely has had a somersault of a political career after he quit the congress, joined BJP only to come back to the former party in 2018.
- New Delhi: BJP’s sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi seeks a second term and is challenged by Congress’ Ajay Maken and the AAP’s Brijesh Goyal. Maken, a former president of the DPCC, was a two-time MP from this seat from 2004-2014.
- Gwalior: BJP’s Vivek Shejwalkar will be contesting from here instead of sitting MP and union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who is contesting from Morena. Shejwalkar's father, Narain Krishna Rao Shejwalkar, was two-time MP of Gwalior from 1977-1984. He will contest against Congress’ Ashok Singh who has thrice lost from seat. However, since his first loss in the 2007 by-poll, he has consistently managed to increase his vote share as well as total votes in subsequent elections and lost to Tomar in 2014 by only 29,700 votes.
- Guna: Scindia family scion Jyotiraditya Scindia will represent the Congress to seek a fifth term against BJP’s KP Yadav, who was a former confidante of Scindia. Scindia has been undefeated from the seat since 2002 and his family has represented the seat continuously since 1989.
- Bhopal: Terror-accused BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur will contest former Congress’ former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh. Thakur is an accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts and stirred controversy for her statements on slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare, and for claiming to cure cancer through cow urine.
- Sultanpur: BJP’s Minister of Woman and Child Development Maneka Gandhi will contest Congress’ Sanjay Singh and the BSP’s Chandra Bhadra Singh a.k.a Sonu Singh— a former MLA and a history-sheeter. Gandhi had won from Pilibhit in 2014 while this seat was represented by her son Varun. Sanjay Singh, who was once accused in the murder case of former badminton player Syed Modi, had won from the seat in 2009.
- Azamgarh: Former Samajwadi Party UP CM Akhilesh Yadav will contest against the BJP’s Bhojupiri actor-turned-politician Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua. Akhilesh will contest from the seat his father Mulayam Singh Yadav had won in 2014. Before 2014, the voters of the seat chose Bali Ram and Daroga Prasad Saroj for alternate terms starting 1996
- Mednipur: State party chief of the BJP Dilip Ghosh, who is also the sitting MLA from Kharagpur, will take on TMC’s Manas Bhunia— a sitting MP in the upper house. Bhunia defected to the TMC from the Congress in 2016.
The National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms analysed self-sworn affidavits of 967 of the total 979 candidates. Here’s a breakup of all the candidates contesting the fifth phase:
- National parties: 174
- State parties: 65
- Registered unrecognised parties: 430
- Independent: 310
In this phase, 20 percent, or 189 candidates, have criminal cases lodged against them.
In this phase, 15 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. While there are 25 candidates who have been charged with murder, 21 candidates have been accused of committing crimes against women.
The BJP has fielded 26 candidates with serious criminal charges, while 20 out of 45 Congress candidates are history-sheeters.
Red Alert Constituencies
There are 34 constituencies in this phase where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
- Bihar tops the list with all eight of its constituencies going to polls in this phase are on ‘red alert’. Half of the candidates contesting in Bihar’s Purvi Champaran are criminals.
Asset, Tax Check
- Among the major parties, 85 percent of BJP candidates have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore, while the figure for Congress stands at 80 percent. Half of AAP’s candidates are crorepatis.
- The average assets held by each BJP candidate is Rs 12.70 crore, while it’s Rs 22.37 crore for Congress. BSP candidates have average assets worth Rs 6.93 crore, and AAP candidates have average assets of Rs 3.01 crore.
- Madhya Pradesh’s Congress candidate for Guna Jyotiraditya Scindia declared the highest assets in this phase at Rs 374 crore. This is in contrast with West Bengal’s Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) candidate Rangalal Kumar had the lowest assets worth Rs 500.
- Shive Sena’s Purulia candidate Rajib Mahato has declared zero assets.
- Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir earns the most among all other candidates in this phase, with an annual income of Rs 12 crore. Gambhir also has the highest liabilities in this phase at Rs 34 crore.
- This phase has 385 candidates, or 41 percent of the total contenders, with educational qualification between fifth grade and twelfth grade.
- More than half of the candidates are at least graduates.
- 10 candidates are illiterate, while 35 are educated enough to be deemed literate.
- Nearly half of the candidates are between 41 years and 60 years of age, followed by aspirants in the age group of 25-40 years.
- There are 153 candidates who are between 61 years and 80 years of age, while there are two octogenarians in this phase.
- This election has only 9 percent women representation, or 83 female candidates contesting, which contrasts to the previous phase’s 12 percent.