Key constituencies in Phase 5 of Lok Sabha polls
A total of 51 seats will go to the polls on Monday in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections spread across seven states.
Over 8.75 crore voters will decide the fate of 674 candidates in the fifth phase, the smallest among the staggered seven-phase Lok Sabha polls in terms of number of seats.
IANS takes a look at the key constituencies going to the polls on Monday.
Amethi (Uttar Pradseh)
Key contestants: Rahul Gandhi (Congress), Smriti Irani (BJP)
Main issues and factors: It is perhaps the most eagerly-watched contest of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with Union Minister Smriti Irani expected to give a tough fight to Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
Both the BJP and the Congress have put their might in the campaign. Gandhi's campaign was bolstered by his sister and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi. Gandhi's winning margin had come down considerably when Irani first contested against him from here in 2014.
Irani's campaign was boosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah who held rallies in the constituency. The result and the margin of victory here will have consequences at the national level. While the BJP has accused Gandhi of not developing the area, the Congress has accused the BJP-led government of stalling projects.
Rae Bareli (Uttar Pradseh)
Key contestants: Sonia Gandhi (Congress), Dinesh Pratap Singh (BJP)
Main issues and factors: For the first time Sonia Gandhi is contesting from Rae Bareli when she is not the Congress President. Her campaign was mainly handled by her daughter Priyanka Gandhi and son Rahul Gandhi.
Her rival Dinesh Pratap Singh is an ex-Congressman who now accuses his former party of dynastic politics. Sonia Gandhi enjoys a lot of goodwill among the people in the constituency which in the past had elected former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to the Lok Sabha. Though it appears an easy contest for Sonia Gandhi, the final outcome of this high-profile seat will be keenly watched.
Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)
Key contestants: Rajnath Singh (BJP), Poonam Sinha (Samajwadi Party), Acharya Pramod Krishnam (Congress)
Main issues and factors: Home Minister Rajnath Singh appears to be placed comfortably in this seat given his efforts to reach out to all the communities. The BJP is also expected to benefit from the legacy of former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee who represented the seat.
Poonam Sinha is the wife of actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha and her campaign got a boost with the participation of her daughter and Bollywood star Sonakshi Sinha.
Key contestants: Rajiv Pratap Rudy (BJP), Chandrika Rai (RJD)
Main factors and issues: Former Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy is a BJP spokesperson and has a bigger national profile as compared to Chandrika Rai of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The seat has been a traditional stronghold for the RJD.
Rai, the estranged father-in-law of RJD chief Lalu Prasad's elder son Tej Pratap, has good connections at the grassroot level. Rabri Devi, the wife of Lalu Prasad who is presently in jail in connection with the fodder scam case, had lost to Rudy in the 2014 elections. Lalu Prasad had also won from here before and the seat is a prestige battle for the RJD.
Key candidates: Jamyang Tsering Namgyal (BJP), Rigzin Spalbar (Congress), Sujjad Hussain (Independent), Haji Asgar Ali Karbalai (Independent)
Main factors and issues: Ladakh is geographically the largest parliamentary constituency in the country but smallest in terms of population. The region, where the demand for Union Territory status has been predominant for years, will see a four-cornered contest.
The seat was last time won by BJP's Thupstan Chhewang who defeated Independent candidate Gulam Raza by just 36 votes. Chhewang, however, resigned from the party accusing it of not fulfilling the promises made to the people of Ladakh.
BJP candidate Tsering Namgyal is the Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC). Independent candidate Sujjad Hussain is being supported by the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), both of which have not fielded any candidate from here.
Key contestants: Jayant Sinha (BJP), Gopal Sahu (Congress)
Main issues and factors: Union Minister and sitting BJP MP Jayant Sinha is facing a tough battle in this seat. His father, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, is no longer in the BJP. Jayant Sinha had told the voters after filing his nomination that if they voted for him, they will get two more important leaders for free -- his father and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Congress forming an alliance here with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) has mounted the pressure on Sinha.
Jaipur Rural (Rajasthan)
Key contestants: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (BJP), Krishna Poonia (Congress)
Main factors and issues: It is a riveting contest between two Olympians. Union Minister and sitting BJP MP Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is an articulate leader whose profile has grown in the Narendra Modi government.
Rathore, the ace shooter who has an Olympic silver medal to his name, will face a formidable opponent in Congress' Krishna Poonia, a discuss thrower whose best showing was a sixth-place finish at the 2012 London Olympics.
While Poonia, a sitting MLA from Sadulpur, is talking about the welfare measures being undertaken by the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan in the last four months, including farm loan waiver, Rathore is talking about the works done by the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre.
Key contestants: Hanuman Beniwal (Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, an ally of BJP), Jyoti Mirdha (Congress)
Main issues and factors: Nagaur has been a traditional Congress stronghold and is the only seat the BJP is not contesting in Rajasthan. While local equations favour Congress' Jyoti Mirdha, a former MP, Hanuman Beniwal of the RLP has strong connect with the youth. His party had won three seats in the Assembly polls held in December last year.
Like other constituencies in the state, the narrative here is also about Narendra Modi. Mirdha, the grand duaghter of prominent Jat leader Nathu Ram Mirdha, had won from here in 2009. The constituency has a sizeable population of Dalits and minorities.
Barrackpore (West Bengal)
Key contestants: Dinesh Trivedi (Trinamool Congress), Arjun Singh (BJP), Gargi Chatterjee (CPI-M), Mohammad Alam (Congress)
Main issues and factors: Former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi is taking on his erstwhile "election-manager" Arjun Singh, who crossed over to the BJP in March after he was denied the ticket from Barrackpore by the Trinamool leadership.
Singh's desertion has made cosmopolitan Barrackpore -- an industrial belt with 35-40 per cent non-Bengali voters mostly working in the jute mills and 17 per cent people from the minority community -- an eye-grabbing seat with 15 candidates in fray.
Trivedi feels he will get the votes for the development works undertaken by the Trinamool Congress government. Singh, on the other hand, said he was "200 per cent sure" of victory as people "hardly knew Trivedi who may finish third". The CPI-M is hoping to emerge as the proverbial dark horse in this seat.
Hooghly (West Bengal)
Key contestants: Ratna De Nag (Trinamool Congress), Locket Chatterjee (BJP), Pradip Saha (CPI-M) and Pratul Chandra Saha (Congress)
Main issues and factors: Singur, from where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched her anti-land acquisition agitation, is one of the seven Assembly segments under this parliamentary constituency. Ratna De Nag is hopeful that her work and that of the Trinamool Congress government will see her through. Locket Chatterjee, an actor-turned-politician, who is also the chief of BJP's women wing in West Bengal, is putting up a spirited fight in what was earlier a Left bastion. IANS