Today, seven states of India voted for candidates to represent 59 constituencies in Phase 6 of polling. 979 candidates are contesting in this round of polling.
In 2014, of the 59 seats BJP won 44; Trinamool Congress 8; Congress 2; INLD 2; Apna Dal 1; LJP 1; SP 1. This round offers a big test for the BJP as it defends 44 seats while TMC faces a big challenge from the BJP in defending 8 seats, mostly in the tribal regions of Bengal.
Some of the big face-offs in this round were:
Constituency: Azamgarh, U.P
Candidate: Akhilesh Yadav (SP); Dinesh Lal Yadav a.k.a Nirahua (BJP)
Winner in 2014: Mulayam Singh Yadav
BJP’s biggest challenge in U.P comes from the Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati-led alliance of SP-BSP. Leading the charge against the BJP in this round of polling is SP leader and former CM Akhilesh Yadav and faces the big test from BJP’s Bhojpuri superstar actor Nirahua. This contest should be a comfortable win for Akhilesh as this was the lone seat in the region which the BJP failed to win in 2014 when Akhilesh Yadav’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav won.
Constituency: Bhopal, M.P
Candidate: Digvijay Singh (Cong); Pragya Singh Thakur (BJP); Madho Singh Ahirwar (BSP)
Winner in 2014: Alok Sanjar (BJP)
Bhopal is a high stakes contest for Congress leader Digvijay Singh as he looks to ward off a late challenge from controversial candidate Pragya Thakur (BJP). Coming shortly after the party’s dramatic win in the assembly election, the Congress party is fighting for prestige and standing up to the Hindutva push represented by Pragya Thakur. Digvijay Singh pulled off a major coup by presenting 7000 sadhus in his support. Bhopal has been a BJP stronghold, but with the recent Congress resurgence, this is a keen fight to watch.
Constituency: Sonipat, Haryana
Candidate: Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Cong); Ramesh Chander Kaushik (BJP); Digvijay Chautala (JJP)
Winner in 2014: Ramesh Chander Kaushik (BJP)
Ex-CM of Haryana BS Hooda fights to make a comeback in a high stakes battle with Ramesh Chander Kaushik. For Hooda, a win here is critical as Haryana will hold assembly elections later this year. A defeat will be a major setback for him and Congress efforts for a comeback in Haryana. In 2014, RC Kaushik (BJP) had received 35.19 percent vote share with Jagbir Singh Malik (INC) getting 27.35 percent votes.
Constituency: North East Delhi, Delhi
Candidate: Sheila Dikshit (Cong); Manoj Tiwari (BJP); Dilip Pandey (AAP)
Winner in 2014: Manoj Tiwari (BJP)
Another prestigious fight for a comeback for the Congress party. In 2014, the party was decimated by the BJP. Manoj Tiwari (BJP) won the seat defeating Prof Anand Kumar (AAP) by 144,084 votes. Sheila Dikshit must win this seat if she is to hope for a Congress revival in Delhi. She had vehemently opposed any tie-up with Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP but the three-cornered contest between Congress, AAP and BJP will help the BJP rather than the Congress.
Constituency: East Delhi, Delhi
Candidate: Atishi Marlena (AAP); Gautam Gambhir (BJP); Arvinder Singh Lovely (Cong)
Winner in 2014: Maheish Girri (BJP)
The contest between Gautam Gambhir (BJP) and Atishi Marlena (AAP0 took a bitter turn with pamphlets containing obnoxious content against Atishi was circulated in pockets of Delhi. Both have approached the courts with complaint and counter complaint. Atishi has the advantage of having worked hard in the constituency and is held in high esteem by many citizens. Ex-cricketer Gautam Gambhir is inexperienced in politics and hopes his fans and BJP’s strong base of party cadres will together get him past the winner’s post.
Constituency: Guna, M.P
Candidate: Jyotiraditya Scindia (Cong)
Winner in 2014: Jyotiraditya Scindia (Cong)
Guna is a Scindia family stronghold, and Jyotiraditya is the sitting MP having held the seat since 2002. In 2014, he won the seat getting 52.89 percent votes. Once again, the voters are expected to extend their loyalty to him.
Constituency: Sultanpur, U.P
Candidate: Maneka Gandhi (BJP);
Winner in 2014: Varun Gandhi (BJP)
Sultanpur witnessed a three-cornered contest between the BJP, BSP, and Congress. Maneka Gandhi (BJP), in a tactical move, switched seats with her son Varun Gandhi. He contests the Pilibhit seat while Maneka fights the BSP-SP alliance and the Congress. It’s going to be tough for Maneka as the combined vote share of BSP-SP in 2014 was 47.61 percent as against the winner Varun Gandhi’s 42.51 percent votes.
This time, with Priyanka Gandhi pitching big for her party, the Congress is expected to increase its vote share of 4.35 percent in 2014 and will come at the cost of BJP’s votes. Maneka Gandhi will find it difficult to pull off a win here especially since this is not her constituency.