Polling will be held on Tuesday for the third and largest phase of Lok Sabha election in 116 seats, including all constituencies in Gujarat and Kerala, with BJP president Amit Shah, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and several Union ministers among prominent candidates in the fray.
The stakes are high for the ruling BJP and its allies as they bagged 66 seats out of these 116 spread across 15 states and Union Territories in 2014 general election, while the Congress and its alliance partners won 27, and the rest went to other opposition parties and Independents.
Besides all seats in Gujarat (26) and Kerala (20), voting will be held in four seats in Assam, five in Bihar, seven in Chhattisgarh, 14 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, six in Odisha, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, five in West Bengal, two in Goa, and one each in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Tripura and Jammu and Kashmir.
The polling in Tripura East constituency, which was earlier scheduled for April 18, will be held in this phase. About 18.56 crore voters are eligible for voting in this phase and the Election Commission has set up 2.10 lakh polling booths/stations and has made elaborate security arrangements.
In the first two phases, election was held to 91 and 96 seats on April 11 and April 18 respectively. Elections are being held in seven phases and with the completion of third phase, the election process will be completed in southern states.
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: List of key contests in third phase of voting
Phase 3: April 23 (116 Lok Sabha seats)
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Gujarat
1. Gandhinagar (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Lal Krishna Advani, Margin: 4,83,121)
2019 candidates: Amit Shah (BJP) Vs CJ Chavda (Congress)
Gandhinagar has been BJP's bastion since 1989. The saffron party has not lost the seat in last 30 years and its veteran Lal Krishna Advani represented the seat six times in 1991, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee also won the seat in 1996 when Advani chose not to contest due to Hawala scam. However, Vajpayee retained his Lucknow seat and left Gandhinagar which was again won by the BJP in a bypoll later. The Congress last won the seat in 1984. BJP president Amit Shah will contest his first Lok Sabha polls from Gandhinagar this time replacing Advani.
2. Anand (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Dilip Patel, Margin: 63,426)
2019 candidates: Miteshbhai Patel (BJP) Vs Bharatsinh M Solanki (Congress)
Congress leader Bharatsinh Solanki will be pitted against BJP's Miteshbhai Patel from Anand. In 2014, BJP's Dilip Patel defeated Solanki by a margin of over 63,000 votes. Solanki represented the seat in 2004 and 2009. In the last seven elections, the Congress won the seat 5 times.
3. Ahmedabad West (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Kirit Solanki, Margin: 3,20,311)
2019 candidates: Kirit Solanki (BJP) Vs Raju Parmar (Congress)
BJP candidate Kirit Solanki will again try to register victory in Ahmedabad West seat for the saffron party against Congress leader Raju Parmar. Solanki has been winning the seat since its inception after delimitation in 2009. Before the 2009 delimitation, BJP's Harin Pathak represented the Ahmedabad Lok Sabha seat six times in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004. Pathak also represented the newly formed Ahmedabad East seat in 2009.
4. Bharuch (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Mansukhbhai Vasava, Margin: 1,53,273)
2019 candidates: Mansukhbhai Vasava (BJP) Vs Abdul Shakur Pathan (Congress)
In 2014, Mansukhbhai Vasava won the seat for the BJP when he defeated Congress leader Jayeshbhai Patel by over 1,50,000 votes. Vasava has been representing the seat since 1998, when he won the byboll necessitated due to the death of Chandubhai Deshmukh. The BJP has never lost the seat since 1989. Ahmed Patel of the Congress won the seat in 1984 for the last time. Patel represented the Congress in 1977 and 1980 also. BJP's Chandubhai Deshmukh won the seat four times in 1989, 1991, 1996 and 1998.
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Kerala
1. Thiruvananthapuram (2014 Result: Congress, Winner: Shashi Tharoor, Margin: 15,470)
2019 candidates: Shashi Tharoor (Congress) Vs Kummanam Rajasekharan (BJP) Vs C Divakaran (CPI)
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor will be facing a tough battle against BJP's Kummanam Rajasekharan and CPI's Divakaran this time. In 2014, Tharoor managed to win the seat and defeated BJP's O Rajagopal by just over 15,000 votes. Tharoor represented the seat in 2009 also. In the last seven elections, the Congress won the seat four times in 1998, 1999, 2009 and 2014 whereas the CPI represented the seat three times in 1996, 2004 and 2005 (bypoll).
2. Wayanad (2014 Result: Congress, Winner: MI Shanavas, Margin: 20,870)
2019 candidates: Rahul Gandhi (Congress) Vs Thushar Vellapally (BDJS) Vs PP Suneer (CPI)
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is also contesting from Kerala's Wayanad apart from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. Congress party's MI Shanavas represented the seat twice in 2009 and 2014. The seat was formed in 2009 after the delimitation process. Gandhi will be facing NDA candidate Thushar Vellapally and CPI's PP Suneer in Wayanad.
3. Pathanamthitta (2014 Result: Congress, Winner; Anto Antony, Margin; 56,191)
2019 candidates: Anto Antony (Congress) Vs K Surendran (BJP) Vs Veena George (CPM)
Congress candidate Anto Antony is once again in the fray from Pathanamthitta and will be facing BJP's K Surendran and CPM candidate Veena George. In 2014, Antony defeated independent candidate P Thomas by over 56,000 votes. Antony won the seat in 2009 also.
4. Ernakulam (2014 Result: Congress, Winner: KV Thomas, Margin: 87,047)
2019 candidates: Hibi Eden (Congress) Vs Alphons Kannanthanam (BJP) Vs P Rajeev (CPM)
Senior Congress leader KV Thomas represented Ernakulam five times in 1984, 1989, 1991, 2009 and 2014. However, the party has fielded Hibi Eden this time from the constituency to take on Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam. In 2014, Thomas defeated Christy Fernandez by over 87,000 votes. In the last eight elections, the Congress won the seat four times whereas the Left-backed independent candidates won the seat four times as well.
5. Thrissur (2014 Result: CPI, Winner: CN Jayadevan, Margin: 38,227)
2019 candidates: TN Prathapan (Congress) Vs Suresh Gopi (BJP) Vs Rajaji Mathew Thomas (CPI)
In 2014, CPI candidate CN Jayadevan defeated Congress candidate KP Dhanapalan by over 38,000 votes. This time BJP's Suresh Gopi, Congress leader TN Prathapan and CPI candidate Rajaji Mathew Thomas will lock horns in Thrissur. In the last seven elections, the CPI represented the seat four times in 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2014 whereas the Congress won the seat in 1991, 1999 and 2009.
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Maharashtra
1. Hatkanangale (2014 Result: SWP, Winner: Raju Shetti, Margin: 1,77,810)
2019 candidates: Dhairyashil Mane (Shiv Sena) Vs Raju Shetti (SWP)
Swabhimani Paksha leader Raju Shetti will be facing Shiv Sena leader Dhairyashil Mane in Hatkanangale. Shetti won the seat in 2014 when he defeated Congress candidate Kallappa Baburao Awade by a big margin of over 1,77,000 votes. In 2014, Shetti was backed by the BJP and the Shiv Sena but this time he is contesting from the Congress-NCP alliance's side. Kallappa Awade represented the seat in 1996 and 1998 when it was known as Ichalkaranji before the delimitation process.
2. Baramati (2014 Result: NCP, Winner: Supriya Sule, Margin: 69,719)
2019 candidates: Supriya Sule (NCP) Vs Kanchan Rahul Kul (BJP)
Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule is locked in a battle with BJP's Kanchan Rahul Kul in Baramati this time. In 2014, Supriya Sule defeated RSPS candidate Mahadev Jankar by a margin of over 69,000 votes. Jankar was supported by the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. Pawar represented the constituency six times in 1984, 1991 (bypoll), 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004.
3. Jalna (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Raosaheb Danve, Margin: 2,06,798)
2019 candidates: Raosaheb Danve (BJP) Vs Vilas Keshavrao Autade (Congress)
Jalna will see the repeat of 2014 when BJP's Raosaheb Danve and Congress candidate Vilas Autade fought against each other. Danve defeated Autade by a huge margin of over 2 lakh votes. Jalna has been a BJP stronghold and in the last eight elections the party lost the seat only once in 1991. Danve has been representing the seat since 1999.
4. Raigad (2014 Result: Shiv Sena, Winner: Anant Geete, Margin: 2,110)
2019 candidates: Anant Geete (Shiv Sena) Vs Sunil Tatkare (NCP)
Shiv Sena's Anant Geete and NCP's Sunil Tatkare will again face each other in Raigad. In 2014, Geete defeated Tatkare by a slim margin of over 2,000 votes. In 2009, Geete won the seat for the first time after its delimitation and defeated the Congress stalwart and former Maharashtra chief minister AR Antulay.
5. Ahmednagar (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Dilip Kumar Gandhi, Margin: 2,09,122)
2019 candidates: Sujay Vikhe Patil (BJP) Vs Sangram Arun Jagtap (NCP)
In a big jolt to the Congress-BJP alliance, the BJP has given its ticket to Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil's son Sujay Vikhe Patil in Ahmednagar. Radhakrishna was the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly. In 2014, BJP's Dilip Gandhi defeated NCP candidate Rajeev Rajale by over 2 lakh votes. Gandhi represented the seat in 2009 and 1999 also.
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Karnataka
1. Bijapur (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi, Margin: 69,819)
2019 candidates: Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi (BJP) Vs Sunitha Devanand Chavan (JDS)
BJP candidate Ramesh Jigajinagi will try to win the Bijapur Lok Sabha seat for the third conscutive time. In 2014, Jigajinagi defeated Congress leader Prakash Rathod by over 69,000 votes. He represented the seat in 2009 also. In the last seven elections, the BJP won the seat four times in 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. The Congress represented the constituency in 1991 and 1998 whereas the Janata Dal won it in 1996.
2. Gulbarga (2014 Result: Congress, Winner: Mallikarjun Kharge, Margin: 74,733)
2019 candidates: Umesh G Jadhav (BJP) Vs Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress)
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge won the seat in 2014 by defeating BJP's Revunaik Belamagi. Kharge also won the seat in 2009. The BJP was able to win Gulbarga only once in 1998. The Congress represented the seat 1989, 1991, 1999 and 2004 also. Kharge is facing a tough battle this time with BJP's Umesh Jadhav in Gulbarga.
3. Shimoga (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: BS Yeddyurappa, Margin: 3,63,305)
2019 candidates: BY Raghavendra (BJP) Vs Madhu Bangarappa (JDS)
Shimoga has been BJP's bastion and the party will again try to retain it. In 2014, BJP's stalwart and former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa won the seat with a massive margin of over 3,60,000 votes. In a 2018 bypoll, Yeddyurappa's son BS Raghvendra retained the seat even after the Congress-JDS alliance in the state. Raghvendra had represented the constituency in 2009 also and is again contesting on a BJP ticket. Former chief minister S Bangarappa represented the seat four times in 1996, 1999, 2004 and 2005. Bangarappa's son Madhu Bangarappa will again take on Raghavendra after his defeat against him a 2018 bypoll.
4. Uttara Kannada (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Anant Kumar Hegde, Margin: 1,40,700)
2019 candidates: Anant Kumar Hegde (BJP) Vs Anand Asnotikar (JDS)
In 2014, BJP's Anant Kumar Hegde defeated Congress candidate Prashant Deshpande by a margin of over 1,40,000 votes. The constituency was known as Kanara before the 2009 delimitation process. Hegde won the seat five times in 1996, 1998, 2004, 2009 and 2014. Congress leader Margaret Alva won it in 1999.
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Uttar Pradesh
1. Rampur (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Dr Nepal Singh, Margin: 23,435)
2019 candidates: Jaya Prada (BJP) Vs Sanjay Kapoor (Congress) Azam Khan (SP)
2. Pilibhit (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Maneka Gandhi, Margin: 3,07,052)
2019 candidates: Varun Gandhi (BJP) Vs Hemraj Verma (SP)
3. Sambhal (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Satyapal Singh, Margin: 5,174)
2019 candidates: Parmeshwar Lal Saini (BJP) Vs JP Singh (Congress) Vs Shafiqur Rahman Barq (SP)
4. Bareilly (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Margin: 2,40,685)
2019 candidates: Santosh Kumar Gangwar (BJP) Vs Praveen Aron (Congress) Vs Bhagwat Saran Gangwar (SP)
5. Mainpuri (2014 Result: SP, Winner: Mulayam Singh Yadav, Margin; 3,64,666)
2019 candidates: Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP) Vs Prem Singh Shakya (BJP)
6. Firozabad (2014 Result: SP, Winner: Akshay Yadav, Margin: 1,14,059)
2019 candidates: Akshay Yadav (SP) Vs Shivpal Singh Yadav (PSPL) Vs Chandrasen Jadon (BJP)
7. Badaun (2014 Result: SP, Winner; Dharmendra Yadav, Margin: 1,66,347)
2019 candidates: Sangh Mitra Maurya (BJP) Vs Saleem Iqbal Shervani (Congress) Vs Dharmendra Yadav (SP)
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Chhattisgarh
1. Raipur (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Ramesh Bais, Margin: 1,71,646)
2019 candidates: Sunil Soni (BJP) Vs Pramod Dubey (Congress)
Raipur has been BJP's stronghold since 1989 and Ramesh Bais represented the constitucney seven times in 1989, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. In 2014, Bais defeated Congress candidate Satya Narayan Sharma by over 1,71,000 votes. Congress won the seat in 1991 when Vidya Charan Shukla managed a victory for the party.
2. Bilaspur (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Lakhan Lal Sahu, Margin: 1,76,436)
2019 candidates: Arun Saw (BJP) Vs Atal Shrivastav (Congress)
In 2014, BJP's Lakhan Lal Sahu defeated Congress candidate and Atal Bihari Vajapyee's niece Karuna Shukla by over 1,76,000 votes. In the last eight elections, the BJP won the Bilaspur Lok Sabha constituency seven times in 1989, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014 whereas the Congress won it in 1991.
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Odisha
1. Puri (2014 Result: BJD, Winner: Pinaki Misra, Margin: 2,63,361)
2019 candidates: Sambit Patra (BJP) Vs Satya Prakash Nayak (Congress) Vs Pinaki Mishra (BJD)
2. Dhenkanal (2014 Result: BJD, Winner: Tathagata Satpathy, Margin: 1,37,340)
2019 candidates: Rudra Narayan Pani (BJP) Vs KP Singhdeo (Congress) Vs Mahesh Sahoo (BJD)
3. Cuttack (2014 Result: BJD, Winner: Bhartruhari Mahatab, Margin: 3,06,762)
2019 candidates: Prakash Mishra (BJP) Vs Panchanan Kanungo (Congress) Vs Bhartruhari Mahatab (BJD)
4. Bhubaneswar (2014 Result: BJD, Winner: Prasanna Kumar Patasani, Margin: 1,89,477)
2019 candidates: Aparajita Sarangi (BJP) Vs Arup Patnaik (BJD)
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in West Bengal
1. Jangipur (2014 Result: Congress, Winner: Abhijit Mukherjee, Margin: 8,161)
2019 candidates: Abhijit Mukherjee (Congress) Vs Mafuja Khatun (BJP) Vs Zulfiqar Ali (CPM) Vs Khalilur Rahman (Trinamool)
2. Maldaha Uttar (2014 Result: Congress, Winner: Mausam Noor, Margin: 65,705)
2019 candidates: Isha Khan Choudhury (Congress) Vs Mausam Noor (Trinamool) Vs Bishwanath Ghosh (CPM) Vs Khagen Murmu (BJP)
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Bihar
1. Madhepura (2014 Result: RJD, Winner: Pappu Yadav, Margin: 56,209)
2019 candidates: Sharad Yadav (RJD) Vs Dinesh Chandra Yadav (JDU) Vs Pappu Yadav (JAP)
2. Supaul (2014 Result: Congress, Winner: Ranjeet Ranjan, Margin: 59,672)
2019 candidates: Ranjeet Ranjan (Congress) Vs Dileshwar Kamait (JDU)
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Assam
1. Dhubri (2014 Result: AIUDF, Winner: Badruddin Ajmal, Margin: 2,29,730)
2019 candidates: Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF) Vs Zabed Islam (AGP) Vs Abu Taher Bepari (Congress)
2. Gauhati (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Bijoya Chakravarty, Margin: 3,15,784)
2019 candidates: Queen Ojha (BJP) Vs Bobbeeta Sharma (Congress)
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Goa
1. South Goa (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Narendra Keshav Sawaikar, Margin: 32,330)
2019 candidates: Narendra Keshav Sawaikar (BJP) Vs Francisco Sardinha (Congress)
2. North Goa (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Shripad Yesso Naik, Margin: 1,05,599)
2019 candidates: Shripad Yesso Naik (BJP) Vs Girish Chodankar (Congress)
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 3 in Jammu and Kashmir
1. Anantnag (2014 Result: JKPDP, Winner: Mehbooba Mufti, Margin: 65,417)
2019 candidates: Mehbooba Mufti (JKPDP) Vs Hasnain Masoodi (JKNC) Vs Sofi Yousuf (BJP) Vs Ghulam Ahmed Mir (Congress)
(With PTI inputs)