Syed Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — The first phase of the general elections 2019 of the world’s largest democracy took place on April 11 (Thursday). In the first phase, a total of 91 constituencies in 18 states and 2 union territories went to poll. In 2014, BJP had won the maximum of 30 seats. But whether BJP would repeat its winning streak in this election will be revealed on May 23, the date for the election results to be declared.
From these 91 constituencies, a total of 1285 candidates from 193 political parties including independent parties, were in the fray. Among them, 1079 candidates were first-timers, 557 independent, 103 women, 52 incumbents, and 39 turncoats recently defected to various parties.
Among the major national and regional parties, 72 from BJP, 82 from Congress, 34 from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), 30 from Pyramid Party of India, 24 from Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party(YSR CP), 24 from Telugu Desam Party (TDP), 22 from Janasena Party, 16 from Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), 14 from Communist Party of India (CPI), 7 from National People’s Party(NPP), 5 from Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), 4 from All India Trinamool Congress(TMC) and 2 from Samajwadi Party (SP) were in fray for the first phase.
Some high profile constituencies went on to poll in the phase one are Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Kairana, Meerut, Saharanpur, Gautam Buddha Nagar that all fall in the Western Uttar Pradesh belt besides Arunachal West, Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar, Vishakhapatnam, Jamui (SC), Nagpur, Tura(ST) and Hyderabad.
A comparative analysis of all these 91 Lok Sabha seats of phase one shows a tough and interesting fight between national and regional parties primarily due to incumbency or defection or some other political reasons due to which various political parties changed or replaced their candidates despite they having won those seats in 2014 elections.
State-Wise Figures and Politics
Arunachal Pradesh: A total of 12 candidates contested in two constituencies of the state where the main contest was between BJP, Congress and People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA). In 2014 Lok Sabha election, Congress’ candidate had defeated BJP’s candidates from Arunachal East. But in Arunachal West, union minister Kiren Rijiju contested again. He had bagged 169,367(50.5%) votes in 2014, by defeating Congress’s Takam Sanjoy who got 127,629 (38.0%) votes. But in this election, Congress has fielded former chief minister Nabam Tuki against Rijiju.
Andhra Pradesh: A total of 319 candidates were in a fight in all the 25 constituencies of the state where the contest is between BJP, Congress, TDP (24), YSRC, Jana Sena. In 2014, TDP had won 14 seats followed by YSRCP which had bagged 7 of the 25 LS seats. This time, TDP has replaced its 4 winning candidates with new faces. While YSRCP has fielded all new candidates on the seven constituencies it won in 2014. Interestingly YSRCP’s Chalamalasetty Sunil who was defeated by TDP’s Thota Narasimham from Kakinada in 2014, has been given a ticket by TDP to contest against YSR CP candidate from the same seat after he defected to the party in March, earlier this year. From Vishakhapatnam, BJP’s Kambhampati Hari Babu had got the victory in 2014 but the party fielded Daggubati Purandeshwari for 2019 elections.
Assam: A total of 41 candidates contested in 5 constituencies out of total 14 constituencies of the state where major parties are BJP, Congress and AIUDF. Among these five seats, BJP had won 4 seats in 2014. But BJP changed its 3 candidates on these 4 seats. The top candidate from the Congress is Gaurav Gogoi, sitting parliamentarian and son of former chief minister Tarun Gogoi. He has contested from Kaliabor seat.
Bihar: A total of 44 candidates were in the fray for the 4 constituencies went to poll in the first phase. Here the battle is between BJP-JDU alliance and Congress-RJD alliance. BJP’s sitting parliamentarian Sushil Kumar Singh who contested from Aurangabad and former Chief Minister of the state Jitan Ram Manjhi from Hindustani Awam Morcha – HAM (S), are among the prominent candidates. Sushil Kumar Singh had defeated Congress’s Nikhil Kumar by bagging 307941(39.2%) votes in 2014. Lok Janshakti Party’s Chirag Paswan, sitting parliamentarian and also the son of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan is among the top candidate. He is contested from Jamui (SC). Bihar will go to poll in all 6 phases of the election.
Chhattisgarh: A total of 7 candidates contested from Bastar (ST) out of total 12 constituencies of the states. Main parties are BJP, Congress, and BSP. The last election witnessed BJP’s Dinesh Kashyap winning. He had secured 50.10% votes, defeating Deepak Karma who got 34% of the vote share.
Jammu and Kashmir: A total of 33 candidates contested in the two constituencies— Jammu and Baramulla. Main parties are PDP, Congress and National Conference (JKNC) alliance; and JKNPP. Jammu seat was swept by BJP’s Jugal Kishore in 2014 who again contested from the same seat. He had got 49.50% vote share and defeated Congress’s Madan Lal Sharma (28.90%). While from Baramulla, PDP’s Muzaffar Hussain Baig who had defeated NC’s candidate is not in the scene now. This time PDP fielded Abdul Qayoom Wani from Baramulla. From the Congress, an important candidate is former minister Raman Bhalla who contested against Jugal Kishore from Jammu.
Maharashtra: A total of 122 candidates contested in 7 constituencies out of total 48 in the state where the major parties are BJP and Shiv Sena; Congress and NCP. The high-profile seat of Maharashtra in the first phase is Nagpur, from where union minister and BJP’s senior leader Nitin Jairam Gadkari has contested again. Gadkari had won the Nagpur seat in 2014 with 54.20% vote share by defeating Congress’s Vilas Muttemwar who had received just 27.9% votes. Now, Congress has fielded Nana Patole against Gadkari and political speculations suggest a close fight between both.
Telangana: In Telangana, the largest number of candidates contested the election and had the greatest number of independents. A total of 443 candidates from various parties in all 17 constituencies were in a fight. Main parties are BJP, Congress, TRS and AIMIM. Telangana’s high-profile seat is Hyderabad where AIMIM’s president Asaduddin Owaisi had defeated BJP’s Dr Bhagavanth Rao. Owaisi is the sitting MP of Hyderabad for three consecutive times. Owaisi and Rao are fighting against each other again.
In Telangana, TRS had won the maximum number of seats (11) in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. From TRS, heavyweight candidates include K Kavitha who is sitting parliamentarian from Nizamabad. She is the daughter of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao. This time TDP decided not to contest election from the state.
Uttar Pradesh: There were a total of 96 candidates in the contest from 8 constituencies of UP which has a total of 90 – the largest number of Lok Sabha constituencies. BJP had tasted victory in all these 8 constituencies of West UP, in 2014 when it had swept the largest number of seats – 72 from the state. Besides BJP other main parties are Congress and the grand alliance of BSP, SP, and RLD. Like Bihar, UP will also go on polls in all seven phases.
High profile constituencies from West UP which went to poll in the first phase include Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Kairana, Saharanpur, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Meerut where BJP’s main faces are union minister VK Singh, Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan, Dr Satya Pal Singh, Pradeep Kumar, Raghav Lakhanpal, union minister Mahesh Sharma and Rajendra Agarwal respectively.
Saffron party’s average vote share on all these constituencies was 36.98% in 2014. A little close margin was seen between Raghav Lakhanpal and Congress’s Imran Masood who had bagged 34.20% votes. Both are again been pitted against each other.
From BSP, the prominent face is Haji Mohammed Yakub from Meerut. A tough fight can be seen from RLD which has fielded three candidates from West UP among those party president Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudhary, contesting from Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat. SP’s Tabassum Hasan is also one of the popular faces who contested from Kairana where she had once defeated BJP’s Hukum Singh in the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
Uttarakhand: 52 candidates contested in all 5 constituencies of the state. Main parties here are BJP, Congress and BSP.
From Congress, former chief minister Harish Rawat is a prominent face from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar seat where BJP’s Bhagat Singh Koshyari who got 57.80% vote share had defeated Congress’s K.C.Singh Baba in 2014. BJP brought Ajay Bhatt, a new face from this constituency in this election.
West Bengal: A total of 18 candidates were in the fray for the 2 constituencies— Cooch Behar (SC) and Alipurduar (ST). Main parties are BJP, Congress, TMC and Left parties. TMC was the winner on both seats in 2014.
The scene of North East
Meghalaya: A total of 9 candidates were in the fray in two constituencies here. Main parties are BJP, Congress, NPP and UDP (United Democratic Party). Agatha Sangma, two-time parliamentarian and sister of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma contest from NPP. She has replaced Purno Agitok Sangma who had won Tura seat in 2014 from NPP with 52.20% vote share.
Manipur: A total of 8 candidates contested in one constituency— Outer Manipur (ST) of Manipur where main parties are BJP, Congress and NPF (National Peoples’ Front). In previous elections, Congress had won this seat.
Mizoram: A total of 6 candidates contested in one constituency— Mizoram (ST). Main parties are BJP, Congress and ZPM alliance and MNF. Congress was the winning party in 2014 from this constituency.
Nagaland: Total 4 candidates contested from Nagaland. Main parties are NPP and NDPP (Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party). Here too, Congress was the winner in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Odisha: A total of 26 candidates contested in 4 constituencies— Kalahandi, Nabarangpur (ST), Berhampur and Koraput. Main parties are BJP, Congress and Biju Janata Dal (BJD). In 2014 BJD had swept all the four constituencies.
Sikkim: A total of 11 candidates contested from state’s one seat. Main parties are BJP, Congress, SDF, HSP, SKM. Previously, SDF was the winner.
Tripura: A total of 13 candidates contested in one constituency where main parties are BJP, Congress, CPM and TMC. CPI (M) is holding this seat since 2014.
What’s up in the Union Territories
Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A total of 15 candidates contested from here. Main parties are BJP, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and TMC. BJP had won this seat in 2014 with 47.8% vote share.
Lakshadweep: A total of 6 candidates contested from Lakshadweep. Main parties are BJP, Congress and NCP. Sitting MP Mohammed Faizal is from NCP who got 50.1% vote share and defeated Congress’s Hamdullah Sayeed (46.6% votes). Both will be contesting against each other this time too.
Moreover, simultaneous assembly elections in four states—Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim were also conducted on Thursday.