Cong’s 31 LS seats at stake today
Congress’s 31 Lok Sabha Seats at Stake Today, Congress appears to face a difficult task when people in the whole of Seemandhra, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand cast their vote in the Lok Sabha elections on Wednesday.
New Delhi: Having won in 2009 nearly half of the 64 seats going to polls in the eighth phase, Congress appears to face a difficult task when people in the whole of Seemandhra, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand cast their vote in the Lok Sabha elections on Wednesday. Conversely its main rival BJP, which has only five seats in this round, may have everything to gain if it improves its performance in parts of heartland UP and Bihar that go to polls along with some constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. Of the 64 seats in seven States, including West Bengal, Congress had won 31 in 2009 while BJP had five.
Already elections have been completed in 438 of the 543 constituencies. 41 seats will go to polls in the last round on May 12. Faced with complaints of large scale rigging in some places, the Election Commission on Tuesday said that it has increased videography of polling stations to ensure free and fair poll. The fate of 1,737 candidates, including Rahul Gandhi (Amethi), his cousin Varun (Sultanpur), Union minister Beni Prasad Verma (Gonda), cricketer-turned-politician Md Kaif (Phulpur-all in UP), Ram Vilas Paswan (Hajipur), Rabri Devi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy (Saran-all in Bihar) is in the hands of 18.47 crore voters who are eligible to cast their franchise. Seemandhra, made up of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra and accounting for 25 seats, will vote on Wednesday for both Lok Sabha and Assembly.
In the last two Parliamentary elections, Congress had done exceedingly well here and had contributed overwhelmingly to the making of the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre. In 2009, the Congress had won 19 of the 25 seats in the region. It had also formed the government in Andhra Pradesh on both the occasions. In Uttar Pradesh, of the 15 seats going to polls on Wednesday, Congress has seven, while Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party have five and three respectively. Seven seats are up for grabs in Bihar. Of this, the ruling Janata Dal (United) has four, while Rashtriya Janata Dal has two and BJP one. In West Bengal, the Left parties, which had won all the six seats going to polls on Wednesday in the state, also face a stiff challenge from the ruling Trinamool Congress. Of the six seats, the CPI (M) has four and CPI and AIFB one each.
In the hill state of Uttarakhand, a keen and direct contest between Congress and BJP is on the cards in the five seats. Chief Minister Harish Rawat's wife Renuka is making her maiden attempt to enter the Lok Sabha through Hardwar. In the last elections, Congress had won four of the five seats, leaving Tehri-Garwhal to BJP.
Elections will also be held in Mandi in Himachal Pradesh where Pratibha, wife of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, is contesting while Anurag Thakur, sitting MP and son of former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal, is the candidate in Hamirpur. With elections in two constituencies --Baramulla and Ladakh--in Jammu and Kashmir, polling will be completed in all the seven constituencies on Wednesday.