19 Apr 2024

Most Riveting Contests That Promise to Captivate Audiences in Phase 1 of Lok Sabha Elections-2024

New Delhi: The commencement of the Lok Sabha election-2024 is marked by an electrifying first phase encompassing 102 seats across 21 states and Union Territories. Notable contenders including ministers, senior leaders, and seasoned victors are poised to defend their turf, amidst pivotal issues such as tribal rights and Article 370. Here's a glimpse into some of the most riveting contests that promise to captivate audiences:

Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh

Chhindwara stands as the last Congress bastion in Madhya Pradesh under the stewardship of Kamal Nath's family for 44 years. This time, Kamal Nath's son, Nakul Nath, defends his father's legacy against BJP's Vivek Bunty Sahu, backed by a determined BJP deploying heavyweight campaigners, including Chief Minister Mohan Yadav.

Nagaur, Rajasthan

Nagaur, among Rajasthan's 25 Lok Sabha constituencies, is poised to become another closely scrutinized battleground in the desert state. This election is anticipated to determine whether voters prioritize the party or the individual candidate. Notably, both candidates have switched allegiances in recent years. Jyoti Mirdha, who previously secured the seat for the Congress in 2009, is now aligned with the BJP. Meanwhile, Hanuman Beniwal, the leader of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, who emerged victorious under the NDA banner in 2019, is now affiliated with the INDIA coalition.

Bikaner, Rajasthan

Once a stronghold of the Congress, Bikaner in Rajasthan has evolved into a bastion for the BJP since 2004. The incumbent MP, BJP's Arjun Ram Meghwal, faces off against Congress's Govind Ram Meghwal for the fourth consecutive time. This contest holds the promise of a potential victory for the Congress, challenging the streak of wins by the BJP MP since 2009. Arjun Ram Meghwal's tenure in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet adds to the significance of this battle, contrasting with the Congress candidate's background as a former state minister.

Jamui, Bihar

Here, the spotlight is on a head-to-head clash between Archana Ravidass from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Arun Bharti from the NDA camp. Bharti, who is affiliated with the NDA, is notable for being the brother-in-law of Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan, the previous victor in this constituency. Both contenders are newcomers to the political scene, promising a fierce competition. Ravidass carries the banner for the RJD, backed by her local influence as the wife of Mukesh Yadav, a prominent leader in the area.

Nagpur, Maharashtra

Nagpur, a constituency in Maharashtra, shifted its allegiance to the BJP in 2014 after decades of supporting the Congress. This constituency holds significance as it houses the headquarters of the BJP's ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Nitin Gadkari, a prominent BJP leader and Union minister, clinched victory in 2014 by a substantial margin, defeating Congress's long-standing MP Vilas Muttemwar. Despite efforts by the Congress, including fielding Nana Patole, the current state Congress chief, in 2019, the seat remained with the BJP. Gadkari, a two-time winner, is now poised to contest for a third term. The Congress is pinning its hopes on Vikas Thakre, a former Mayor of Nagpur and the incumbent MLA of Nagpur West.

Chennai Central, Tamil Nadu

Chennai Central, among Tamil Nadu's 39 electoral areas, has long been a bastion for the DMK party, which will be defended by incumbent Dayanidhi Maran. He faces Vinoj P. Selvam, the BJP's state president. Notably, Selvam previously contested against the DMK's PK Sekhar Babu in the 2021 Harbour Assembly constituency election but lost.

Udhampur, J&K

The upcoming election in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir, is poised to be a significant test for the BJP's assertions of progress post the revocation of Article 370, which granted the region special status. While Article 370 remains a central issue in the Kashmir Valley, Udhampur, situated in the Jammu region, is predominantly influenced by the Rajput community. Although Article 370 holds importance here as well, concerns such as unemployment and infrastructural development take precedence in this Hindu-majority area. The electoral contest is anticipated to be fierce, with Congress's Choudhury Lal Singh challenging the incumbent two-time winner and Union minister, Jitendra Singh. Adding complexity to the race, Ghulam Nabi Azad's DPAP (Democratic Progressive Azad Party) has put forward former J&K Minister GM Saroori, setting the stage for a triangular competition.

Dibrugarh, Assam

Dibrugarh, one of Assam's 14 constituencies, is poised for a high-stakes showdown between former Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal of BJP and Lurinjyoti Gogoi from Asom Jatiya Parishad, part of the INDIA bloc. Sonowal previously clinched victory in this constituency representing the Asom Gana Parishad. However, for the last two terms, it has been Rameswar Teli, a member of the tribal community, who has held the seat. This time around, neither candidate hails from this community, setting the stage for a compelling contest. Aam Aadmi Party's Manoj Dhanowar, representing the tea tribe in this triangular race, is expected to cut the votes of AJP candidate.

Jorhat, Assam

In Assam's electoral landscape, Jorhat emerges as the focal point among the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies. Gaurav Gogoi, son of the three-time Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, is leading the charge to reclaim this traditional Congress stronghold from the BJP. The battle for Jorhat symbolizes prestige for both political parties. Historically significant, Jorhat was twice won by Tarun Gogoi in the 1970s and remained under Congress's sway from 1991 to 2014, represented by the veteran Bijoy Krishna Handique. However, the BJP seized control in 2014. Gaurav Gogoi, now contesting from Jorhat, faces incumbent MP Topon Kumar Gogoi, supported actively by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Gaurav Gogoi, formerly a two-term MP from Kaliabor and currently the Deputy Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, shifted his focus to Jorhat due to electoral delimitation.

Tura, Meghalaya

Tura in Meghalaya is gearing up for an electrifying three-way showdown among the incumbent National People's Party (NPP), an ally of the BJP, and the Congress. Adding to the mix, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, part of the INDIA bloc, has also thrown their hat in the ring, a move likely to chip away at the Congress's voter base. Agatha Sangma, the current legislator, is the NPP's candidate. Meghalaya holds two out of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the northeast. Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP's key figure in the northeast and the Chief Minister of Assam, has confidently forecasted that the NDA will secure no less than 22 out of the 25 seats.

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