In phase four of Lok Sabha elections 2019, to be held on April 29, polling will be conducting in 71 constituencies across nine states. Over 940 contestants in fray in this round, of which 238 candidates have been fielded by national/state parties, 347 candidates by regional parties and 358 are independents.
Over a third of the contestants, or 306 politicians, have declared assets worth Rs 1 crore and more, with average assets per candidate standing at Rs 4.53 crore, India Today reported. The National Election Watch and non-profit election research group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) analysed affidavits of 928 candidates - affidavits of 15 contestants could not be analysed due to unavailability complete information - and found that 18 candidates have declared their annual total income to be more than Rs 1 crore. Topping the chart is Congress party's Priya Sunil Dutt with Rs 13 crore as self-income in the last fiscal. She is contesting for the Mumbai North Central seat. Vivek Tankha, another Congress candidate from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, has declared income of Rs 11 crore. Next in line is Baijayant Panda of the BJP, contesting from Odisha's Kendrapara, with a declared an income of Rs 9 crore.
Nakul Nath, the Congress candidate from Madhya Pradesh's Chhindwara constituency, is the richest candidate contesting in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections. He is Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath's son and has declared assets worth Rs 600 crore. In the second rank is Sanjay Sushil Bhonsale, the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi candidate from Mumbai South Central, with assets worth Rs 125 crore, followed by BJP's Anurag Sharma (Rs 124 crore), who is contesting from Uttar Pradesh's Jhansi.
Out of the 57 candidates fielded by the Congress, 50 are reportedly crorepatis. Similarly, 88% of the 57 BJP candidates have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore. The respective figures for the Bahujan Samaj Party, Shiv Sena and Samajwadi Party are 37%, 62% and 80%.
The analysis further found that a total of 210 candidates face criminal charges in Phase 4 - 158 are named in serious cases and 12 have declared convicted cases, IANS reported.
"Among the major parties, 20 out of 57 candidates from BJP, 9 out of 57 candidates from Congress, 10 out of 54 candidates from BSP, 9 out of 21 candidates analysed from Shiv Sena and 45 out of 345 [analysed] independent candidates have declared serious criminal cases," the ADR said in a statement.
It added that 37 of the 71 constituencies up for polling are red alert constituencies, where three or more contestants have some sort if a criminal record.
Which constituencies will vote during Phase 4 of Lok Sabha Elections 2019?
Maharashtra (17 constituencies): Mumbai-North, Mumbai North-East, Mumbai North-West, Mumbai North-Central, Mumbai South-Central, Mumbai South, Nandurbar, Dindori, Dhule, Nashik, Bhiwandi, Palghar, Kalyan, Thane, Maval, Shirur and Shirdi
Rajasthan (13): Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Pali, Jodhpur, Barmer, Jalore, Udaipur, Banswara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Kota and Jhalawar-Baran
Uttar Pradesh (13): Shahjahanpur, Kheri, Hardoi, Misrikh, Unnao, Farrukhabad, Etawah, Kannauj, Kanpur, Akbarpur, Jalaun, Jhansi and Hamirpur
West Bengal (8): Baharampur, Krishnanagar, Ranaghat, Bardhaman Purba, Bardhaman-Durgapur, Asansol, Bolpur and Birbhum
Madhya Pradesh (6): Sidhi, Shahdol, Jabalpur, Mandla, Balaghat and Chhindwara
Odisha (6): Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur
Bihar (5): Darbhanga, Ujiarpur, Samastipur, Begusarai and Munger
Jharkhand (3): Chatra, Lohardaga and Palamu
Jammu and Kashmir (1): Anantnag, the only seat in the country that is voting in three phases.
What are the major parties in the states voting in Phase 4?
While national parties Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have their presence in most of the above constituencies in the country, regional parties are a force to reckon with. To begin with, Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, which has tied up with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh, will prove to be a forceful third front in the state. Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha is facing stiff competition from the BJP this time while in West Bengal, the BJP is trying to take on Mamata Banerjee's formidable All India Trinamool Congress (AITC). In Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena is in coalition with the BJP, and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) as well as the Congress will fight the ruling party.
Of the five seats in Bihar, the BJP had won only one in 2014 and it is again contesting one seat this time. Janata Dal (United), the BJP's ally in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), is contesting three seats while the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is contesting one seat. As part of the grand alliance, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is contesting three seats, while the Congress and the Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP) are contesting one seat each.
The Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, together accounting for 19 seats in this phase, will be closely watched. In the 2014 elections, the BJP had won all the 25 constituencies in Rajasthan and 27 out of 29 constituencies in Madhya Pradesh. But farmer distress and other factors tipped the balance in favour of the Congress in the recent assembly elections in both states. While a repeat of the Modi sweep of 2014 now looks impossible, it remains to be seen if the populist measures introduced in the latest Budget will woo voters in these states.
What will be the biggest battles on April 29?
Battle for Begusarai: Former JNU Students' Union president and CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar is locked in a triangular contest in Begusarai, which is possibly the most keenly-watched constituency in Bihar. He is pitted against firebrand BJP leader and Union minister Giriraj Singh, and RJD's Tanweer Hassan.
Begusarai was once considered a CPI stronghold and was even known as Leningrad of Bihar. However, after sending an MP back in 1967, CPI's hold over the constituency declined sharply. The party is now banking on 32-year-old Kumar, a native of Beehat Panchayat in Barauni block of Begusarai, to revive its fortunes. This is Kumar's first election.
The CPI initially wanted the RJD to back Kumar, but Lalu Prasad's party refused to do so. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, RJD candidate Tanweer Hassan had bagged 3.69 lakh votes despite the Modi wave, hence the RJD has decided to field him from the seat again. Hasan is believed to be comfortably placed with the Yadavs and Muslims reportedly rallying behind him.
Meanwhile, the BJP, having won this seat in 2014 with Bhola Singh, is hoping to get lucky a second time with Giriraj Singh. The seat fell vacant with the sitting MP's death in 2018. Given that its new candidate hails from the Bhumihar caste - reportedly the most vocal and assertive of the upper castes in Bihar - which dominates in Begusarai, the party is keeping its fingers crossed.
Battle for Chhindwara: This Madhya Pradesh constituency has been its Chief Minister Kamal Nath's stronghold since 1980. Nath has been the longest serving MP from this seat, having served for nine terms. It was one of the only two constituencies in the state that had defied the saffron surge five years ago. This time round the Congress stalwart has vacated the seat for his son, Nakul Nath.
He will be contesting against BJP's Nathansaha Kawreti and BSP's Gyaneshwar Gajbhiye. Will the BJP be able to capitalise on Nath senior's absence?
Battle for Kendrapara: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has held this politically-sensitive seat since 1998. But Baijayant Jay Panda, who had won on the BJD ticket twice in a row since 2009, recently switched allegiance to the BJP. Amit Shah last month appointed Panda as the party national vice president and spokesperson. His entry gives a boost to the saffron party in Odisha, a state where its attempts to make inroads have come a cropper since 2009, when the BJD walked out of its alliance with the BJP in the run-up to the general elections. In fact, in the 2014 elections, BJP bagged only one seat out of the state's 21 while the Congress got nothing.
But 2019 could see a big change in the state given the strong anti-incumbency factor. Panda had reportedly won with a margin of 2 lakh votes in 2014 and the BJP will be hoping he can recreate that magic for them on April 29. He is up against Ollywood superstar Anubhav Mohanty, who is the BJD candidate.
How to check the name on voters' list for Phase 4 of Lok Sabha Elections 2019?
Log on to the National Voter Services Portal's Electoral Search page (nvsp.in) and check your name on the voter's list by entering your details. You can alternatively put in your Electoral Photo ID Card (EPIC) number.
What to do if you don't have a Voter ID card?
Log on to the NSVP Electoral Search page and click on search by details.
Put in your details, such as name, gender, age, assembly constituency etc.
Based on your details, a result will pop up, which means that your name is in the voter's list. In case, there is no pop-up, it means your name is probably missing from the voter's list.
How can you report any violation of Model Code of Conduct?
Through the ECI's mobile app, cVIGIL, people report about any violation of Model Code of Conduct, any incident of intimidation or inducement within minutes of having witnessed. cVIGIL is an Android-based mobile app, which is user-friendly. "All that one has to do is to simply click a picture or to take a video and briefly describe the activity before uploading it on the cVIGIL mobile application. If the complainant desires to remain anonymous he has the option to do so," says the EC. The district control room allocates cVIGIL cases to the flying squads, which further investigate the matter. The status of the complaint is also with the cVIGIL complainant in 100 minutes.
(With PTI inputs)