Key Constituencies to Watch in India's Important Elections - Latest Global News

Key Constituencies to Watch in India’s Important Elections

(Bloomberg) — India’s election has passed the halfway point, with the campaign between major political parties becoming as heated as soaring temperatures across the country.

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Thousands of candidates from national and regional parties as well as independent candidates are seeking the attention of almost a billion eligible voters.

prime minister Narendra Modi, who wants to extend his 10-year term in office for another five years, has been criticized by the opposition for his aggressive and polarizing speeches. challenger Rahul Gandhi The Indian National Congress, allied with more than 20 parties, is trying to stop Modi’s juggernaut.

At the festival of democracy, which takes place every five years in the world’s most populous country, not only career politicians but also actors, sports stars and millionaires compete against each other.

Of the 543 seats in Parliament, here are some of the most closely watched election contests:

Amethi, Wayanad

The suspense over senior Indian National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s choice of a second constituency has finally ended. And it is not Amethi, the family bastion he had previously won in three elections before losing to Smriti Irani of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019. The small town in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, has long been a stronghold of the Gandhi family, along with Rahul’s parents and an uncle previously voting for power there.

Gandhi will instead contest Raebareli in the state of Uttar Pradesh and Wayanad, a district in the picturesque southern state of Kerala, where he won last time. Indian politicians sometimes contest in more than one constituency, hoping to win at least one to secure a seat in Parliament.

From Amethi, the Congress has fielded Kishori Lal Sharma, a Gandhi family confidante who has been with the party for decades.

The BJP’s Irani, who defeated Gandhi in his small district in 2019, is contesting again. The city will vote in the fifth of the seven-phase elections on May 20, in what is expected to be one of the most watched elections.

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Raebareli

Sonia Gandhi, the former Congress party president who had won the last five elections against Raebareli, decided to stay out of the fray this time. The constituency, about 60 kilometers (37,282 miles) west of Amethi, has long been dominated by the Gandhi family, including her late mother-in-law and former prime minister Indira Gandhi winning the seat three times.

Her son Rahul would hope to retain the family district. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was rumored to be making her electoral debut from the city, will not contest the elections.

Dinesh Pratap Singh of the BJP, who lost to Sonia Gandhi in 2019, is running against him. The constituency will vote on May 20.

Ladakh

The picture-postcard region of snow-capped Himalayan peaks and tranquil lakes has seen occasional bloody clashes between Indian and Chinese troops along a long, disputed border. The BJP is trying to score a hat-trick of victories here even as it struggles with rising local fears.

Ladakh is part of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir, which was split into two state-controlled territories after Modi’s government gave up its autonomy in 2019, and is demanding statehood. Climate activist Sonam Wangchuk has called on people to take action and calls for action to protect the fragile ecology of the strategically important region between Tibet and Pakistan. The BJP has picked a new candidate, dropping 2019 winner Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, who is in open rebellion against the party.

Thiruvananthapuram

The capital of the southern state of Kerala – known for its pristine beaches, backwaters and the traditional medical practice of Ayurveda – is witnessing an exciting three-way battle. Congress’ Shashi Tharoor, a former minister and United Nations under-secretary-general, is seeking a fourth consecutive term. The BJP has fielded junior technology minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar hoping to unsettle Tharoor and win a seat in a state that has traditionally shown little interest in the party’s right-wing politics.

Coimbatore

Nicknamed the “Manchester of South India”, this industrial city in Tamil Nadu is one of the most closely watched parliamentary elections and is crucial to Modi’s ambitions to expand his party’s presence in the southern states. Desperate to win a few seats, the BJP fielded former police officer K. Annamalai against strong challengers from regional parties. Annamalai, which has covered nearly 10,000 km on foot, has gained popularity in the last few months. Modi, the BJP’s star activist, has visited the state six times this year to boost the party’s chances.

Krishnanagar

A quaint little town north of West Bengal’s capital Kolkata is the epicenter of one of the most bitter political disputes in the ongoing national elections. The BJP has left no stone unturned to win the majority of seats in the state. Standing in their way is the hot-tempered regional manager Mamata Banerjee. Her party’s candidate from the constituency is former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker Mahua Moitra, a harsh and vocal critic of Modi and his party. Moitra was expelled from parliament last year over allegations of “unethical behavior”. The BJP has fielded Amrita Roy, a member of the city’s former royal family. The constituency is famous for its globally recognized clay models.

Baramati

The constituency lies about 250 km east of Mumbai and is considered the family bastion of the wily politician Sharad Pawar – a kingmaker who wields considerable influence in Maharashtra, one of the country’s most industrialized states. His daughter Supriya Sule is seeking a fourth consecutive term. The competition is expected to be tough this time. Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar pits his wife Sunetra Ajit Pawar against Sule. Ajit had split his uncle’s party and sided with the BJP – and was appointed deputy chief minister of the state government. Since then, Ajit and Sunetra’s names have been cleared by the country’s investigative agencies in cases related to fraud worth billions of rupees.

Barmer

A young, independent candidate is causing a stir in the desert town of Barmer in the western state of Rajasthan. In the last two elections, the BJP won the constituency. Barmer district borders neighboring Pakistan and is considered one of the hottest places in the country. Summer temperatures regularly reach 40 °C (104 °F). Ravindra Singh Bhati, a 26-year-old student leader who caused a surprise by winning the Rajasthan assembly elections last year, is heating things up even further and will provide competition to the BJP and the Congress.

– With support from Santosh Kumar.

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