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LS polls phase II: Farm distress, development, nationalism take lead

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Western will be a test case in the second phase of the on April 18 when polling will be held for 97 seats. There are serious farmers issues at stake there, yet they could be subsumed by the discourse on nationalism.

Across the country, there are other constituencies where farm distress will be a factor, like the Marathwada region, or backward Raiganj in West Bengal, where agrarian crisis is a reality.

The question in will be about keeping the separatists at bay. In the 2017 bye-elections, which former Jammu and won, the voting percentage was an abysmal 7.2 per cent, the lowest ever recorded till then for a election.

The big story will be in -- polls to all and Assembly seats will be held in a single phase. Right now, it is a bipolar election -- between the AIADMK and DMK. The subtext will be provided by the election results -- to see whether either the UPA or the NDA has been able to get a toehold in the state.

The following are some of the key constituencies that will go to the polls in the second phase.

Amravati (Maharashtra)

Sitting MP: Anandrao Adsul, Shiv Sena

Key candidates: Anandrao Adsul (Shiv Sena) and Navneet Kaur Rana (Yuva Swabhiman Party), supported by the Congress-NCP alliance.

Number of voters: 16.11 lakh.

Main issues: Farm distress, farmers' suicides and water scarcity. This is a reserved constituency in which Buddhist Dalits wield significant influence.

Nanded (Maharashtra)

Sitting MP: Ashok Shankarrao Chavan, Congress

Key candidates: (Congress), Chikhalikar (BJP), (Samajwadi Party)

Number of voters: 16.87 lakh

Main issues: This is an economically backward portion in the Marathwada region, where farm distress and water scarcity are main issues. Even though this is not a reserved constituency, the Scheduled Castes population has a significant vote base.

Bulandshahr (Uttar Pradesh)

Sitting Bhola Singh, BJP

Key candidates: (BJP) and Yogesh Verma (BSP), who will be the candidate for the SP-BSP-RLD mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh, and Bansi Lal Pahadia (Congress)

Number of voters: over 17 lakh

Main issues: This is a reserved constituency for the Scheduled Castes. Farm-related issues have a major role here. However, Bulandshahr is also a communally sensitive area and a campaign that focuses on this could find takers among the voters.

Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)

Sitting MP: Hema Malini, BJP

Key candidates: (BJP), Narendra Singh (RLD) who is a candidate for the SP-BSP-RLD mahagathbandhan in and (Congress)

Number of voters: 17.99 lakh

Main issues: The strong nationalistic narrative associated with the government of finds resonance in this constituency. It got a fillip following the Balakot air strike. However, that does not overshadow issues related to farmers -- the problems of the sugar mills are well known -- unemployment, cleaning the Yamuna and infrastructure development.

Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh)

Sitting MP: Satish Gautam, BJP

Key candidates: (BJP) and (BSP), who is the candidate for the SP-BSP-RLD mahagathbandhan in and Brijender Singh (Congress)

Number of voters: 17.9 lakh

Main issues: is a factor in the election but so are caste and development issues. Balyan is a Jat and his was a thoughtful candidate selection since the constituency has a significant Jat population. However, development issues have typically held sway in this university town. For the record, Gautam had created a stir last year over the presence of a portrait of in Over 20 per cent of the population is Muslim but Aligarh has never had a Muslim The Lodhs, an OBC community, is influential in the constituency and former Kalyan Singh's village of falls within the Aligarh constituency. Singh is a Lodh.

Pollachi (Tamil Nadu)

Sitting MP: C. Mahendran, AIADMK

Key candidates: C. Mahendran (AIADMK), K. Shanmugasundaram (DMK) and A. Ganesha Moorthy (BSP)

Number of voters: Over 15 lakh

Main issues: The Pollachi sex scandal, which exploded in February, and the political fallout from it, would rank as the key factor in the elections. The scandal had first hit the ruling AIADMK but then scarred the DMK as well. Contrary to what many analysts had suggested, the Pollachi sex scandal will be a major election issue.

Karur (Tamil Nadu)

Sitting MP: M. Thambi Durai, AIADMK

Key candidates: M. Thambi Durai (AIADMK) and S. Jothimani (Congress)

Number of voters: 13.66 lakh

Main issues: This is a textile hub but suffers from poor industrial development and an absence of good road connectivity. Industrial pollution is caused by textile dyeing units. Problems are added by water scarcity.

Bangalore North (Karnataka)

Sitting MP: D.V. Sadananda Gowda, BJP

Key candidates: D.V. Sadananda Gowda (BJP) and (Congress)

Number of voters: 28.46 lakh

Main issues: Development issues take centre stage in this constituency with a large number of electors -- infrastructure, public transport, sanitation and drinking water. The issue of job opportunities is also likely to play a part in the election.

Hassan (Karnataka)

Sitting MP: H.D. Deve Gowda, JD-S

Key candidates: Prajwal Revanna (JD-S) and (BJP)

Number of voters: 15.8 lakh

Main issues: BJP candidate joined the BJP from the party recently which makes the contest interesting. The constituency is dominated by Vokkaligas, who will be looking for support from other communities. Hassan is located along the Cauvery basin and is rich in cash crops. Naturally, the of the region is also determined by water availability.


Sitting MP: Shobha Karandlaje, BJP

Key candidates: (BJP) and Pramod Madhwaraj (JD-S)

Number of voters: 14.98 lakh voters

Main issues: Nationalistic issues get some traction but workaday issues like jobs and infrastructure are the issues. The constituency is important because and former takes special interest in it. Two main occupations for people here are fishing and bidi rolling.

(Jammu and Kashmir)

Sitting MP: Farooq Abdullah, National Conference

Key candidates: (National Conference), Sheikh (BJP) and (PDP)

Number of voters: Over 12 lakh

Main issues: The issue on test here will be democracy and A bypoll in 2017 -- following the resignation of -- had registered a mere 7.2 per cent voter turnout to elect Farooq Abdullah, the lowest ever for an election. At least seven people had died in poll-related violence.

Chennai South (Tamil Nadu)

Sitting MP: J. Jayavardhan, AIADMK

Key candidates: J. Jayavardhan (AIADMK), R. Kumar (BSP) and Sumathy (Alias) Thamizhachi Thangapandian (DMK)

Number of voters: 17.96 lakh

Main issues: Apart from development, this election will also be about legacy -- of AIADMK's Jayalalitha and DMK's M. Karunanidhi. Issues of corruption and governance will be among the issues that voters are likely to consider in a muddled political scenario that is witnessing efforts by the BJP to gain a toehold in the state.

Purnea (Bihar)

Sitting MP: Santosh Kumar Kushwaha, JD-U

Key candidates: Santosh Kumar Kushwaha (JD-U) and Uday Singh alias Pappu Singh (Congress), who is the candidate for the Congress-RJD combine in Bihar

Number of voters: 15.82 lakh

Main issues: Issues of development like roads, public transport, water and sanitation could be overshadowed by caste and nationalism issues. At one point the contest could see a clash between the Hindutva of the BJP and the Muslim-Yadav of the Congress-RJD candidate, who is a Rajput.

Silchar (Assam)

Sitting MP: Sushmita Dev,

Key candidates: Sushmita Dev (Congress) and Rajdeep Roy (BJP)

Number of voters: 10.60 lakh

Main issues: Despite the large number of Muslims in this constituency, it had generally stayed away from polarisation. That has now changed. The NRC was one factor in this. The rise of the BJP in the state is another. However, this narrative has also served to mute some of the anger on development issues that could have been used by the BJP to put Dev on the defensive. Her father, Santosh had represented the constituency but was said to not have been successful in bringing development to the area.

Raiganj (West Bengal).

Sitting MP: Mohammad Salim, CPI-M

Key candidates: (CPI-M), Deboshree Chaudhury (BJP), (Congress) and Kanaialal Agarwal (Trinamool Congress)

Number of voters: 13.87 lakh

Main issues: The constituency has nearly 50 per cent Muslim population and there is the possibility of communal polarisation. However, CPI(M)'s Salim is keen to keep the political discourse on development and agrarian issues.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 16 2019. 12:22 IST