Women voters show their fingers marked with indelible ink after casting vote at Umpher in Ri-Bhoi district. (Source: PTI)

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: A Guide To Phase 3

The Election Commission said nearly 70 percent voter turnout was recorded in each of the two phases of the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. In the third phase on Tuesday, voters from 15 states and Union Territories will cast ballots across 117 seats—the maximum number of Parliamentary constituencies going to vote—to choose from more than 1,640 candidates.

While all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf Gujarat will go to polls on April 23, his Bharatiya Janata Party will try to gain a foothold in the left-aligned state, Kerala, from where it has no representative in Parliament. Tuesday also marks the 30-day countdown to the counting day.

Since the second phase of polling, the Election Commission banned yet another Modi-related web series. The BJP nominated terror-accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur as its candidate from Bhopal, while a few India’s top businessmen endorsed Congress’ South Mumbai candidate Milind Deora.

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

Here’s a ready reckoner on the states going to vote on April 23, key seats and candidate details.

Key Seats To Watch Out For

Gujarat

All 26 seats in Prime Minister Modi’s home state go to the ballot in the third phase. The BJP had secured a clean sweep of all 26 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

  • Gandhinagar: Replacing six-time MP LK Advani, BJP president Amit Shah will make his Lok Sabha election debut. The Congress contender for this seat is two-time MLA CJ Chavda. The Congress had earlier fielded candidates like Rajesh Khanna, and former Chief Election Commissioner TN Seshan.
  • Dahod: The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Jasvantsinh Bhabor will fight to seek a second-term and is up against Congress’ Babubhai Katara. The seat was a Congress stronghold until 1998, and was then represented by Katara twice as a BJP MP before he switched parties.
  • Bharuch: BJP’s six-time MP Mansukhbhai Vasava and Congress’ Sherkhan Pathan are the contenders. The constituency has had only three MPs since 1977 and has been represented by Vasava since 1998. Pathan faces charges of murder, kidnapping and voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons, among others.
  • Surat: BJP’s MP since 2009, Darshana Jardosh, will run to represent the seat which was represented by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai for 23 years. The Congress has fielded Ashok Adhevada as its contender.

Kerala

Like Gujarat, voting on all of Kerala’s 20 constituencies will occur in the third phase.

  • Pathanamthitta: The BJP fancies its chances the most in this constituency—which was the epicentre of the protests last year over the Supreme Court order permitting the entry of women in the Sabarimala shrine. K Surendran, who led the protests, is the BJP’s candidate and will contest against Congress’ Anto Antony, who is seeking re-election, and CPI(M)’s Veena George.
  • Wayanad: Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s decision contest from Wayanad, in addition to Amethi, triggered reactions across the political spectrum. Gandhi will face BJP ally Bharath Dharma Jana Sena’s Thushar Vellapally. The Left Front candidate is CPI’s PP Suneer. Also contesting among a bunch of independent candidates are two, named Raghul Gandhi K, and Rahul Gandhi KE.
  • Ponnani: The Indian Union Muslim League has won each of the 11 Lok Sabha election held in this constituency since 1977. IUML’s sitting MP Mohammed Basheer will contest against BJP’s VT Rema and independent candidate PV Anvar.
  • Ernakulam: Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam is up against CPI(M)’s P Rajeev, a former Rajya Sabha MP, and Congress’ Ernakulam MLA Hibi Eden. Veteran Congress leader KV Thomas represented this seat for five terms.
  • Thiruvananthapuram: Congress’ Shashi Tharoor is pitted against BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan, who was the party’s state unit chief from 2015 to 2018. Tharoor has represented Kerala’s capital since 2009, while Rajasekharan was the governor of Mizoram until he resigned last month to re-enter active politics.

Karnataka

Voting will be carried out in 14 of Karnataka’s 28 seats in this phase.

  • Vijayapura: Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ramesh Jigajinagi will seek a third stint as an MP for the BJP. He will contest Janata Dal (Secular)’s Sunitha Devanand Chavan. This seat has been a BJP stronghold since 1999.
  • Kalaburagi: Congress’ leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, will seek a third term from Kalaburagi, and will be up against BJP’s Umesh Jadhav. A Congress stronghold, the seat has elected MPs from other parties only twice: in 1996 and 1998.
  • Uttara Kannada: BJP’s Union Minister of State for Skill Development Ananth Kumar Hegde will take on Anand Asnotikar of the JD(S). Asnotikar was a former BJP minister and defected to the JD(S) in 2018.
  • Shivamogga: BJP’s BY Raghavendra won the seat in a byelection in 2018 after his father and state party chief BS Yeddyurappa chose to retain his assembly seat after the 2018 state polls. Raghavendra had earlier won this seat in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls when his father was the state’s chief minister. In a rematch of last year’s by-poll he faces Madhu Bangarappa – son of former Shimoga MP S Bangarappa, who had also briefly served as chief minister of Karnataka. Bangarappa senior won this seat for the Congress, BJP, and Samajwadi Party, before moving to the JD(S).

Maharashtra

14 of Maharashtra’s 48 seats go to the ballot in the third phase.

  • Raigad: Union Heavy Industries Minister Ananth Geete, who has represented this constituency since 2009, takes on former Maharashtra Finance Minister and NCP Leader Sunil Tatkare in a re-match of 2014. Geete won that round by a narrow margin of 2,110 votes. Among independent candidates also on the ballot are two—Sunil Pandurang Tatkare and Sunil Sakharam Tatkare.
  • Baramati: Is among the four seats the Nationalist Congress Party bagged in 2014. Two-term MP Supriya Sule—daughter of NCP Chief Sharad Pawar–who himself represented the seat from 1991 to 2009. Sule is up against Kanchan Kul of the BJP, who's the wife of Daund MLA Rahul Kul of the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha.
  • Jalna: State BJP Chief Raosaheb Danve is seeking a fifth term, and has been MP since 1999. He faces Vilas Autade of the Congress in a re-run of 2014, when Danve won by over 2 lakh votes.
  • Hatkanangle: Two-term MP Raju Shetti and his Swabhimani Paksha left the NDA in 2017 over differences relating to issues of farmer distress, and faces Dhairyasheel Mane of the Shiv Sena. Mane’s mother was elected twice from this seat for the NCP, and his grandfather on five occasions for the Congress.
  • Raver: Sitting MP Raksha Khadse is the daughter-in-law of former Maharashtra Finance Minister Eknath Khadse. Raksha Khadse was the joint-youngest Lok Sabha MP in 2014, at the age of 26.

Assam

Four of the 14 seats go to the ballot in the third phase.

  • Dhubri: All India United Democratic Front’s Founder Badruddin Ajmal will test the waters for the third term as MP and will compete against Congress’ Abu Taher Bepari, and Trinamool Congress’ Nurul Islam. Bepari had quit the Congress in 2015, only to re-join it in 2017. He is currently an MLA from Golakganj.
  • Kokrajhar: Incumbent MP Naba Kumar Sarania—a former commander of a banned militant group ULFA—will fight against Urkhao Gwra Brahma, former Rajya Sabha member. Also in the fray are Pramila Rani Brahma, a minister in the BJP-led Assam government, and Congress’ Sabda Ram Rabha. Kokrajhar has traditionally elected Bodo leaders to the Lok Sabha since 1957.

Bihar

Five of the total 40 seats are going to the ballot on April 23.

  • Madhepura: The seat is set to witness a clash of Yadavs. Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who founded the Jan Adhikar Party (Loktantrik) in 2015 after exiting Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal. He's up against seven-time MP Sharad Yadav who broke away from Nitish Kumar and the Janata Dal (United) in 2017 and will represent the Mahagathbandhan. Ranjan (then RJD candidate) had defeated Yadav (then JD(U)) in 2014.
  • Supaul: Congress’ Ranjeet Ranjan is pitted against JD(U)’s Dileshwar Kamait. Ranjan is the wife of Pappu Yadav and is seeking a second term.

Goa

  • North Goa: The Union Minister of State in the Ministry of AYUSH—Shripad Yesso Naik—will represent the BJP against Congress’ state unit chief Girish Chodankar. Naik has represented this seat (formerly known as Panaji) since 1999.

Jammu And Kashmir

  • Anantnag: Former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party Chief Mehbooba Mufti and Congress’ Ghulam Ahmad Mir are the contenders. Also in the fray is Jammu & Kashmir National Conference’s Hasnain Masoodi. Polling will be held in three phases, with shortened voting hours. Mufti has been the MP from 2004 to 2009 and 2014 to 2016.

Tripura

Voting is also being held in Tripura East, a constituency where polling was called off from the Phase 2 schedule on April 18, due to a law and order situation.

Also read: Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Guide To Phase 1 

Criminal Cases

The National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms analysed self-sworn affidavits of 1,594 of the total 1,612 candidates. Here’s a breakup:

  • National parties: 316
  • State parties: 76
  • Registered unrecognised parties: 496
  • Independent: 724
  • Of all the candidates analysed, 21 percent have declared criminal cases against themselves, with 14 of them being charged with kidnapping for ransom or with an intent.
  • While hate speech is frowned upon by the Election Commission, 26 candidates contesting in this phase have a history of making such speeches.
  • In this phase, 14 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.
  • 60 percent of the candidates fielded by the Nationalist Congress Party are criminals, with half of them facing serious criminal charges. Its ally Congress’ 40 candidates of the total 90 are history-sheeters.
  • 32 percent of the candidates fielded in Kerala have criminal charges levied against them.
  • The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has 58 percent candidates who are criminals. This compares with the 38 history-sheeters fielded by the BJP.
  • The constituencies with three or more candidates with declared criminal cases against them are in the ‘red alert’ category. There are 63 such constituencies in this phase.
  • Eleven of the 14 constituencies in Maharashtra are on red alert. The Madha district in the state has 12 candidates out of the 31 fielded who have a history of crime.
  • No constituencies of Assam, Goa, and Chhattisgarh are labelled as red alert.

Asset Check

  • One out of every four candidates contesting in this phase is a millionaire, according to the survey.
  • The average assets held by candidates in this phase is Rs 2.95 crore. There are 35 parties in this phase whose contesting members are all crorepatis.
  • The average assets held by the BJP candidates in this phase is Rs 13.01 crore. That compares with Congress candidates’ average of Rs 10.96 crore.
  • On the other hand, 10 candidates fielded by the Samajwadi Party have average assets worth Rs 28.52 crore. The party’s Devendra Singh Yadav, who is contesting from the Etah constituency of Uttar Pradesh, possesses assets worth Rs 204 crore, and is the richest in this phase. His assets trump those of Maharashtra’s Satara royal Bhonsle Udayanraje Pratapsingh.
  • In contrast, Karnataka’s Shrivenkateshwar Maha Swamiji has movable assets worth Rs 9.
  • There are 11 candidates with zero assets. Of these, four are from Maharashtra, and three from the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
  • Six of the top 10 candidates with the highest liabilities are from the BJP. Madha seat aspirant from the party Ranjeetsinha Hindurao Naik Nimbalkar declared liabilities worth Rs 89 crore—more than 64,000 times the total assets of the 10 candidates with the lowest assets.

Tax Time

There are 32 candidates in this phase whose income is more than Rs 1 crore—one of them being NCP stalwart Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule.

Educational Qualification

  • Of all the candidates fielded in the third phase, 49 percent, or 788 aspirants, have educational qualification between Class 5 and Class 12.
  • Most of the candidates have only cleared their tenth grade, while 43 percent have completed their graduation, the survey showed.
  • 23 candidates are illiterate—nearly as many as there were in the second phase—while 57 candidates were educated enough to be deemed literate.
  • Majority of the candidates contesting on Tuesday age between 41 years and 50 years, followed by the aspirants in the age group of 31-40 years. Three candidates are octogenarians.
  • In a first for this election so far, a trans candidate will contest. The Aam Aadmi Party has fielded its first transgender candidate, Chirpi Bhawani, from the Prayagraj seat in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Only 9 percent, or 143 candidates of the total fielded in this phase are women. That’s as much as the previous phase’s 8 percent.

Updates earlier version to increase number of constituencies going to polls in Phase 3.