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India Lok Sabha election 2024 Phase 4: Who votes and what’s at stake?

A total of 96 constituencies across 10 states and union territories will vote on May 13 in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

India is bracing itself for the fourth phase of its weeks-long elections on May 13 to elect 96 members of parliament to the Lok Sabha, or the lower house of parliament, as the world’s largest electoral exercise moves into its final month.

The two main contenders for power are Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), a coalition of 26 parties led by the main opposition party, Rahul Gandhi‘s Indian National Congress.

Last week, the third phase of the voting saw Modi cast his vote in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar constituency. It also saw the competition between the two main contenders heighten as the Congress Party’s former President Sonia Gandhi said Modi and the BJP were focusing “only on gaining power at any cost”.

The fourth phase also features a bit of glamour in the east of the country, where Bollywood veteran Shatrughan Sinha is seeking re-election in West Bengal’s Asansol, and to the south, where actress Maadhavi Latha from the BJP is standing for the Hyderabad seat in Telangana. Latha is pitted against Asaduddin Owaisi, a four-time MP from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party.

The first three phases of the election, which were held on April 19, April 26 and May 7, saw a voter turnout of 66.1, 66.7, and 61 percent, respectively. The voting so far has been lower than in the 2019 elections. In total, 969 million people are registered to vote in 543 parliamentary constituencies across 36 states and federally-governed union territories.

Who is voting in the fourth phase?

Registered voters across nine states and a union territory will cast their ballots for the following constituencies:

  • Andhra Pradesh: All 25 constituencies in the southern coastal state
  • Telangana: All 17 constituencies in the southern state
  • Jharkhand: Four of the eastern state’s 14 constituencies
  • Odisha: Four of the eastern state’s 21 constituencies
  • Uttar Pradesh: Thirteen of the northern state’s 80 constituencies
  • Madhya Pradesh: Eight of the central state’s 29 constituencies
  • Bihar: Five of the eastern state’s 40 constituencies
  • Maharashtra: Eleven of the western state’s 48 constituencies
  • West Bengal: Eight of the eastern state’s 42 constituencies
  • Jammu and Kashmir: One of the union territory’s five constituencies

Which are some of the key constituencies?

Hyderabad (Telangana): Asaduddin Owaisi is being challenged by the BJP’s Maadhavi Latha in his family bastion. Owaisi’s brother, Akbaruddin Owaisi is a member of the state legislative assembly while his father, Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, represented the parliamentary constituency, with a substantial Muslim population, six times. Owaisi pitches himself as the voice of India’s Muslim minority whose issues he regularly raises in his parliamentary debates. Owaisi was given the “best parliamentarian” award in 2022.

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir): This constituency in Kashmir registered just 15 percent voting in the 2019 election, which was marred by a boycott. This is the first parliamentary election in Kashmir since the region’s special status was removed in August 2019. The two biggest mainstream pro-India parties in the region – the National Conference and People’s Democratic Party – have fielded Aga Syed and Waheed Parra, respectively, as their candidates.

Krishnanagar, Baharampur and Asansol (West Bengal): These three parliamentary contests in West Bengal state, bordering Bangladesh, offer a mix of star power and political significance. Bollywood actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha is seeking re-election from Asansol, while ex-cricketer Yusuf Pathan is taking on senior Congress Party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who has been representing Bahrampur since 1999. Chowdhury was also the leader of the opposition Congress Party in the outgoing Lok Sabha. Pathan is the candidate of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the party that rules the state and is also aligned with the national opposition INDIA alliance – even though the coalition’s members are standing against each other in West Bengal.

Yet, the most high-profile electoral battle in the state on May 13, is in Krishnanagar, where the fiery TMC parliamentarian and fierce critic of Modi, Mahua Moitra, is seeking a second term. A former vice president of JPMorgan Chase based in London, Moitra entered politics in 2009. Her parliamentary speeches asking tough questions of the government often go viral. In December 2023, the firebrand MP was expelled from parliament after being accused of accepting cash to ask questions. She said her expulsion was a way to silence her. She has challenged her expulsion in the Supreme Court. The BJP has fielded Amrita Roy, whose husband is a descendant of the erstwhile king of the region, against Moitra.

Kannauj and Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh): Akhilesh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party – a regional powerhouse that has seen its influence shrink with the BJP’s rise – has decided to enter the electoral race in Kannauj in northern Uttar Pradesh state, which accounts for 80 seats in the parliament. The BJP currently governs the state. Kannauj, known for its perfume industry, has been a Yadav family bastion. Akhilesh, his father Mulayan Singh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav have represented the seat since 1999. But in 2019, Dimple lost to the BJP in a shock defeat. Akhilesh’s entry into the electoral fray is an attempt to wrest back the family pocket borough.

The other seat that has attracted a lot of attention is Lakhimpur Kheri, where controversial federal Minister of Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni is seeking re-election. Mishra has been caught in a storm since his son Ashish Mishra allegedly ran his car over farmers protesting against now-repealed farm laws. Ashish is out on bail and farmers’ groups as well as activists have been demanding that Mishra be denied a ticket by the BJP.

Indore (Madhya Pradesh): This constituency, a stronghold of the BJP, has been in the news for unlikely reasons. The Congress candidate Akshay Kanti Bam withdrew from the race at the last minute, after the last date for candidates to file nominations had passed. The Congress could not field a replacement and Bam later joined the BJP. Thirteen other candidates are in the fray, but the Congress Party has urged voters to opt for NOTA (none of the above) in protest.

When does the voting start and end?

Voting will begin at 7am local time (01:30 GMT) and end at 6pm (12:30 GMT). Voters already in the queue by the time polls close will get to vote, even if that means keeping polling stations open longer.

Complete election results for all phases are to be released on June 4.

Which parties rule the states being polled in the fourth phase?

  • The BJP governs Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh outright.
  • The BJP governs Maharashtra and Bihar in alliances.
  • Odisha is governed by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which leans towards the NDA but is not a part of the alliance.
  • Andhra Pradesh is governed by the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party.
  • Congress governs Telangana.
  • Jharkhand is governed by the INDIA alliance led by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.
  • West Bengal is governed by the All India Trinamool Congress Party, a member of the INDIA alliance.
  • Jammu and Kashmir is governed directly by New Delhi. Its state legislature remains suspended.

Who won these Lok Sabha seats in 2019?

  • In the last Lok Sabha elections, Congress, along with parties now affiliated with the INDIA alliance and those affiliated then with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, won 13 of the 96 seats to be decided on May 13.
  • The BJP and parties affiliated with the NDA won 50 of the seats in 2019.
  • The YSR Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh won 22 seats while the Telangana-based Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) won nine seats in 2019.
  • The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) won two seats in 2019.

How much of India has voted so far?

The first three phases of the Lok Sabha elections have already decided the fate of 284 MPs.

So far, voting has concluded for all seats in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, Karnataka, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura; the Andaman and Nicobar islands; and the Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman, Diu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry union territories.

The fifth phase will kick off on May 20 and the sixth on May 25, before the election heads towards the seventh and final phase on June 1.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA



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