• Wednesday, May 29, 2024

India News

India elections: Key leaders who are in fray in the first phase

Polling officials in Sukma, Chhattisgarh, ahead of the first phase of India elections on April 19. (Photo: Getty Images)

Vivek MishraBy: Vivek Mishra

The first phase of India’s general elections, scheduled for April 19, will see prominent political figures including eight Union ministers, two former chief ministers, and an ex-governor contesting across 102 constituencies in 21 states and Union territories.

Union road and transport minister Nitin Gadkari is vying for a third consecutive term from Nagpur, where he previously defeated both a seven-time MP and the current Maharashtra Congress chief by significant margins.

Union minister Kiren Rijiju seeks to maintain his representation of Arunachal West, a seat he has held since 2004, facing off against Nabam Tuki, former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh.

In Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal, Union minister of ports, shipping and waterways, is campaigning in Dibrugarh, shifting from his role in the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, Union minister Sanjeev Baliyan faces a tight race in Muzaffarnagar’s intricate caste landscape against candidates from the Samajwadi Party and the BSP.

Further contests feature Jitendra Singh in Udhampur, aiming for a third term, and Bhupendra Yadav, who challenges a sitting Congress MLA in Rajasthan’s Alwar district.

Union law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal is contesting against a former Congress minister in Bikaner.

In Tamil Nadu, notable battles include A Raja, a former telecom minister and incumbent DMK MP, against BJP’s L Murugan in the Nilgiris constituency, and Karti Chidambaram who seeks re-election in Sivaganga, a seat previously won by his father seven times.

Other significant races include Tamilisai Soundararajan, former governor and now a candidate in Chennai South, and Nakul Nath, who is defending his seat in Chhindwara, a stronghold previously held by his father, Kamal Nath.

These elections will unfold over seven phases from April 19 to June 1, determining the makeup of the 18th Lok Sabha. The final results will be announced on June 4.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a record-equalling third straight term, the opposition’s INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) bloc is trying their best to stop BJP’s winning run.


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