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Lok Sabha elections 2019 Phase 3: 7 big fights underway

The third phase of the polls is not only the biggest of the seven-phase election, but also boasts several heavyweights such as Amit Shah, Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor, Mulayam Singh Yadav and more

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In   New Delhi     Last Updated: April 23, 2019  | 14:23 IST
Lok Sabha elections 2019 Phase 3: 7 big fights underway
From Amit Shah to Rahul Gandhi, here are some of the biggest battles that will play out during Lok Sabha election 2019 phase3.

The biggest round of the seven-phase general elections is now underway with over 1,600 contestants vying for votes across 117 constituencies. This third phase also has some big names entering the fray, including two national party chiefs, BJP's Amit Shah and Congress' Rahul Gandhi, several Union ministers, scions of political dynasties such as Varun Gandhi and Supriya Sule, as well as some popular faces like Bollywood star Jaya Prada.

Here's a look at the biggest battles that will play out during the day:

Also read:Lok Sabha Election 2019 Phase 3 Live Updates: Voting percentage 37.7% till 1PM; highest 52.3% in West Bengal

Amit Shah vs CJ Chavda

In Gandhinagar, which is popular as BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani's seat, the ruling party's president Amit Shah takes on two-time MLA CJ Chavda fielded by the Congress. The latter is a veterinary doctor, who went on to become a deputy collector before joining politics. On the other hand, although this is Shah's first Lok Sabha election, in the past he had won the Gujarat Assembly elections four times from Sarkhej constituency (before delimitation), and once from Naranpura seat (after delimitation), both of which are part of Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, India Today reported. So all things considered, this is one of the multiple David vs Goliath fights that phase 3 has in store.

After the BJP announced Shah's name, the Congress had tried to find a strong candidate. It had reportedly even considered fielding Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, but that could not happen since the court did not stay his conviction in a case.

Rahul Gandhi vs PP Suneer

The Wayanad seat in Kerala had been in the Congress kitty ever since the constituency was carved out in 2009. Senior Congress leader MI Shanavas, who died last year, had defeated CPI contestants M Rahmatullah by over 1.5 lakh votes in 2009 and Sathyan Mokeri by 20,000 votes in 2014. Hence, political analysts say this is a safe bet for party chief Rahul Gandhi.

The latter's decision to contest from Wayanad besides his traditional Amethi seat has added new interest to the fight between rivals United Democratic Front (UDF) and Left Democratic Front (LDF) - a coalition of left-wing parties in Kerala - for the 20 parliamentary constituencies in state.

The Left parties, meanwhile, have already declared that they will "teach" Gandhi how to "fight elections on the ground". The LDF candidate PP Suneer was previously CPI Malappuram district secretary and had faced defeat in Lok Sabha polls in 1999 and 2004.

According to pundits, while the outcome of this fight seems a given, Gandhi's winning margin will be closely watched.

Shashi Tharoor vs Kummanam Rajashekaran vs C Divakaran

The fight in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, is expected to be a triangular contest where two-time sitting Congress MP Shashi Tharoor is up against BJP's former state party president Kummanam Rajasekharan, who recently stepped down as Mizoram governor.

Although the Congress has a significant presence in Kerala, in the last Lok Sabha polls, the party's seat count had dipped from 13 to 8. Additionally, the BJP has steadily gaining its footing in the state and has taken up the cause of Sabarimala to woo voters. The outcome in this constituency is being closely watched against the backdrop of the Sabarimala agitation. The Supreme Court's verdict allowing women to enter the temple had sparked off massive protests, with BJP workers at the forefront.

The other main contender is CPI's C Divakaran, a former minister and sitting MLA.

Jaya Prada vs Azam Khan

In Rampur, a minority-dominated Lok Sabha constituency in western Uttar Pradesh, BJP candidate Jaya Prada, who is seeking a third term from this seat, will take on Samajwadi Party-BSP combine's candidate Mohammad Azam Khan. Although Khan is looking to make his Lok Sabha debut, Rampur is widely regarded as his stronghold - he is a nine-time MLA after all - so this won't be an easy fight between the friends-turned foes.

The Congress party had fielded MLA Sanjay Kapoor, but he is largely seen as a dummy candidate placed only to cut into the BJP's Hindu vote bank, thus furthering Khan's chances for a big win.

Mallikarjun Kharge vs Umesh Jadhav

Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge is hoping for a hat-trick in the Gulbarga Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka. The nine-time MLA and two-term Lok Sabha member is up against Umesh Jadhav, who joined the BJP just last month. The former Congress MLA had reportedly quit in a huff due to the alleged dominance of Kharge in the party and the region. Jadhav furthermore was against Kharge's son Priyank getting ministerial berth ahead of several senior Congress leaders, including himself.

The 77-year-old Kharge told PTI on Sunday that despite the alleged use of money power, he would win the elections as people know him for the past 50 years. Reacting to allegations of promoting his son in the region, Kharge said Congress leaders and the high command forced his son into politics and it would be unfair for the media and opposition parties to say he was playing dynastic politics.

Mulayam Singh Yadav vs Prem Singh Shakya

Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav will be contesting in his family borough of UP's Mainpuri - reportedly for the last time - against BJP's Prem Singh Shakya as well as eight other candidates from smaller parties. But nobody expects any kind of contest at all.

Mainpuri is one of the few seats in Uttar Pradesh where the BJP has never won. Even during the Modi wave of 2014, the BJP candidate could poll only about a third of the number of votes Mulayam received. In 2014, Mulayam polled 5.95 lakh votes and defeated BJP's Shatrughan Singh Chauhan by a margin of over 36% votes. The BSP came in third. Today, post the SP- BSP alliance, the fight is almost one-sided in Yadav's favour and pundits say that he may cross the 7-lakh mark in the votes tally.

Sambit Patra vs Pinaki Mishra

In Puri, Odisha, the election has turned into a contest between the spokespersons of three political parties - BJP's national spokesperson Sambit Patra, sitting MP Pinaki Mishra, a spokesman of BJD, and Congress' state unit media cell chairman and chief spokesman Satya Prakash Nayak.

While Patra and Nayak are both first-time Lok Sabha candidates, Mishra, who is among the four party MPs renominated by BJD to contest the election, had been elected twice before. In fact, Puri is considered a BJD stronghold. Former Union minister Braja Kishore Tripathy was elected to Lok Sabha thrice (1998, 1999 and 2004) from Puri on BJD ticket and Mishra in 2009 and 2014.

Also read: Lok Sabha Election 2019: Phase 3 voting on April 23; FAQs, voting for 115 seats

Also read: Jaya Prada vs Azam Khan: Who is the richer candidate?

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