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UP bigwigs' fate in 14 LS seats to be decided Monday

UP bigwigs' fate in 14 LS seats to be decided Monday

Lucknow, May 19 (UNI) The fate of several stalwarts including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Smriti Irani and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi will be sealed as 14 seats in India’s largest state Uttar ­­­­Pradesh go to the hustings in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections on Monday.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Navdeep Rinwa said the polling on these 14 seats will be held between 7 am to 6 pm. Simultaneously, by-poll for the Lucknow East assembly constituency will also take place. Lucknow East fell vacant following the demise of sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Ashutosh Tandon Gopalji.
The 14 Lok Sabha seats where polling will be held in this phase are Mohanlalganj, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Barabanki, Faizabad, Kaiserganj and Gonda. "Ten seats are of general category and 4 seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes," Rinwa said.
The 14 Lok Sabha constituencies are spread over 21 districts, including Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Sultanpur, Jhansi, Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Pratapgarh and Ayodhya.
Rinwa said a total 2.7 crore voters - 1.43 crore male and 1.27 crore female - are eligible to decide the fate of 144 candidates, including 13 women across 28,688 polling booths spread over 17,128 polling centres in these constituencies.
To keep a close vigil on the polling, the commission has deployed three special observers, 14 general observers, 9 police observers and 15 expenditure observers. "Apart from this 2,416 sector magistrates, 327 zonal magistrates, 549 static magistrates and 3,619 micro observers have also been deployed." he said.
Meanwhile, police sources said 9,916 Inspectors, sub-inspectors, 70,862 head constables and constables, 30 companies of PAC and 234 companies of CAPF have been deployed.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is seeking a third term from Lucknow after winning in 2014 and 2019. Since 1991, Lucknow has been a bastion of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), since 1991. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the past represented the constituency.
The most interesting election is witnessed in Rae Bareli where former Congress president Rahul Gandhi is being challenged by the minister in Yogi Adityanath government, Dinesh Pratap Singh. In the 2019 elections, Rahul Gandhi lost to BJP's Smriti Irani in Amethi.
This time he has moved to another traditional seat of Congress Rae Bareli after his mother Sonia Gandhi was appointed to Rajya Sabha. His sister and party's national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been extensively campaigning in support of Rahul.
Congress Parliamentary Committee chairperson and former MP Sonia Gandhi made an emotional appeal in favour of her son Rahul, even as the BJP is trying to make Rae Bareli a local vs outsider battle.
In Amethi Union Minister Smriti Irani faces close confidant of the Gandhi family and Congres­­­­­s candidate Kishori Lal Sharma. While Irani defeated Rahul Gandhi from this seat in 2019 general elections, Sharma has a long association with the Gandhi family and he served as the local representative of Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli for almost a decade. It may be mentioned that Sharma's candidature was announced on the last day of the nomination.
Another interesting contest is being witnessed on the Kaisarganj seat where sitting BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was denied a ticket after he got embroiled in controversy related to international wrestlers. The saffron outfit has, however, made Brij Bhushan’s son Karan Bhushan Singh as its nominee.
Karan Bhushan Singh, who is making a foray into electoral politics, is pitted against Bhagat Ram Mishra of SP and BSP’s Narendra Pandey. It may be noted that Brij Bhushan's elder son Prateek Bhushan is already an MLA from the Gonda Sadar seat.
Union minister Kaushal Kishore is seeking his third term in the Mohanlalganj Lok Sabha seat. He is facing a challenge from former minister and SP candidate RK Chaudhary and the BSP nominee Rajesh Kumar Chaudhry.
In Jhansi, former Union minister and Congress candidate Pradeep Jain Aditya is being pitted against sitting BJP MP Anurag Sharma. The BSP has fielded a new face and student leader on this seat Ravi Prakash Maurya.
In Gonda, two-time sitting BJP MP and erstwhile prince of Mankapur estate Kirti Vardhan Singh is facing a challenge from SP candidate Shreya Varma.
In Fatehpur, incumbent BJP MP Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti is up against former SP state president and party candidate Naresh Uttam Patel. The SP candidate, a deputy minister in the Mulayam Singh government, is also close to SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
In the Faizabad seat, which has become important for the BJP after the construction of the Ram Temple, sitting MP Lallu Singh is seeking a second term. However, this time he is facing a challenge from a founding member of SP Awadhesh Prasad.
In Barabanki, Congress has reposed its faith on Tanuj Punia against Rajrani Rawat of the BJP. Tanuj Punia, the son of senior Congress leader PL Punia, lost from here in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. UNI AB SSP

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