Thursday thunder at polling booths
In Tamil Nadu (consisting of 39 constituencies), BJP’s rainbow coalition with six regional parties is expected to bring some fruitful results, while for Dravidian parties like DMK and AIADMK it will be a fight to re-retain or retain the political ego.
Among the prominent candidates in the field in Tamil Nadu are former minister Dayanidhi Maran (Central Chennai), former telecom minister A Raja (Nilgiris), DMK leader T R Baalu, finance minister P Chidambaram's son Karti (Sivaganga), DMK leader Vaiko (Virudunagar) and union minister V Narayanasamy (Puducherry).
In Maharashtra, polling will be held in 19 seats, including six in Mumbai. All seats are held by the Congress and its ally NCP and the BJP have a hard fight. Some of the prominent leaders contesting election from Maharashtra are union minister Milind Deora (Mumbai-South), Priya Dutt (Mumbai-North Central), Gurudas Kamath (Mumbai-North West), AAP candidates Medha Patkar (Mumbai North East) and Meera Sanyal (Mumbai-South).
BJP’s much focused state of Uttar Pradesh will see polling for 12 seats (with total 187 candidates in the fray), which will decide the future of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri), his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav in Kannauj and external affairs minister Salman Khurshid who is contesting from Farrukhabad.
The Mathura seat, which has been the centre of many controversies over candidate selection in the BJP camp, is also going to see an interesting poll with Jayant Chaudhary, son of RLD chief Ajit Singh, and BJP candidate and Bollywood star Hema Malini are in the fray.
In Bihar, BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain, the lone Muslim face, is contesting from Bhagalpur, while NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar and former home secretary R K Singh (BJP) is contesting from Kathihar and Supual respectively. Polling will held in seven seats in Bihar.
In West Bengal, President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit and Mamata Banerjee’s rival Deepa Dasmunshi will also have their ‘litmus tests’ on Thursday. In 2012 by-election, Abhijit had won the Jangipur seat with a margin of 2,536 votes, when his father vacated the seat to become the President of India. Polling will held in six seats in Bihar.
In Madhya Pradesh, the poll will also decide fate of BJP leader Sushma Swaraj from Vidisha and BJP veteran Sumitra Mahajan in Indore. This time Sumitra is eyeing a record eighth consecutive victory.
Four constituencies will go to poll on Thursday in the third and last phase of Lok Sabha election in Jharkhand where a total of 72 candidates are in the fray. Former chief ministers Shibu Soren (JMM), and Babulal Marandi (Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik) are among the prominent candidates contesting from Dumka.
In Assam, six constituencies will go to poll where 74 candidates are in the battle. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha since 1991, and his wife Gursharan Kaur will cast their votes at Dispur Government Higher Secondary School.
In Dhubri constituency, which is dominated by minorities, the fight is expected to be three-corner between AIUDF Chief and sitting MP Badruddin Ajmal, Congress candidate Wazed Ali Choudhury and BJP’s Debamoy Sanyal.
Political experts feels that Kokrajhar (ST) constituency will witness an interesting poll with six candidates in fray including Assam tourism minister Chandan Brahma of BPF and sitting BPF MP S K Bwismuthiary who was denied a ticket by the party and is now contesting as an independent bidding to win for the fifth consecutive term.
In Jammu and Kashmir, polling will be held in Anantnag Lok Sabha seat against the backdrop of the killing of four political workers. There are 12 candidates including NC’s Mehboob Beg, sitting MP, and opposition PDP president Mehbooba Mufti. Twelve lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes.
The fate of 81 contestants including two union ministers and Mohammad Azharuddin, former cricketer, will be decided in the second and last phase of Lok Sabha polling in five constituencies in Rajasthan. The former cricketer will face a triangular contest against BJP’s Sukhbir Singh Jaunpuria and NPP’s Jagmohan Meena.
In Chhattisgarh, prominent contenders are Karuna Shukla, niece of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Congress).