High-profile seats of Rae Bareli, Amethi to vote in Phase-V in UP, fate of 5 Union ministers at stake

The 14 seats which will vote in the upcoming phase comprise not only the Congress citadels of Rae Bareli and Amethi but also Ayodhya, the nerve centre of the BJP’s Hindutva plank.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi files his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections in Rae Bareli on Friday, as mother Sonia and sister Priyanka look on (File photo | PTI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi files his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections in Rae Bareli on Friday, as mother Sonia and sister Priyanka look on (File photo | PTI)

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh, the political heartland of India, will witness voting in 14 seats in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 20, with the fate of five Union ministers at stake.

The 14 seats which will vote in the upcoming phase comprise not only the Congress citadels of Rae Bareli and Amethi but also Ayodhya, the nerve centre of the BJP’s Hindutva plank. In fact, the fifth phase will decide the tone and tenor of the remaining sixth and seventh phases of the ensuing election which will be concentrated across 27 seats of Purvanchal.

Moreover, four constituencies of Bundelkhand would also decide whether to let the ruling saffron brigade achieve a hat-trick or vote for a change going beyond the benefits of welfare schemes extended by the Modi government. Similarly, the political stature of the tainted Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of the BJP, the six-time Lok Sabha MP, would also be put to test in Kaiserganj where his son is contesting as a proxy as he is caught in the sexual harassment case of ace female wrestlers of the country.

The ruling BJP had swept the phase in 2019 by winning 13 of the 14 seats. While the BJP had wrested Amethi from the Congress, former AICC chief Sonia Gandhi had managed to retain Rae Bareli as the only party MP from UP in 2019. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party had drawn a blank in this phase in 2019 and 2014.

In the fifth phase, while the Congress is contesting in two seats – Rae Bareli and Amethi – its ally, the SP, is contesting in the remaining 12 seats.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi files his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections in Rae Bareli on Friday, as mother Sonia and sister Priyanka look on (File photo | PTI)
Rae Bareli is 'karmabhoomi' of both my 'mothers' Sonia and Indira Gandhi: Rahul

At a glance

Rae Bareli: One of the most prominent seats of the fifth phase is set for a fierce fight between former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi who has switched from his bastion Amethi replacing his mother and sitting MP Sonia Gandhi. He is being challenged by the BJP’s MLC and Yogi government minister Dinesh Pratap Singh who had switched over to the BJP from the Congress in 2018. The BSP has fielded an OBC Thakur Prasad Yadav here.

Amethi: Another high-profile seat witnesses a battle of nerves between Union minister and sitting MP Smriti Irani and KL Sharma, a low-profile representative of the Congress’s first family of four decades. Smriti had defeated Rahul Gandhi in 2019 in Amethi and she is seeking a second term. The BSP has fielded Nanhe Singh Chauhan.

Faizabad: The seat of the Ram temple is set to test the BJP’s Hindutva plank. However, Faizabad has never been a saffron stronghold in the true sense. The Congress captured this seat in 2009, BSP won it in 2004 and the SP in 1998. The BJP won the seat in 1991, 1996, 2014 and 2019. In 2019, the BJP’s Lallu Singh, five-time MLA and an MP twice, retained it defeating SP’s Anand Sen by securing 48.65% of votes. Buoyed by the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the BJP hopes to win this seat with a huge margin in 2024. This time the contest is multi-cornered with the SP having fielded its 9-time MLA Awdhesh Prasad, while former IPS officer Arvind Sena of the CPI and Sachhidanand Pandey of the BSP are also in the fray.

Lucknow: The real challenge before the ruling BJP is the winning margin of sitting MP Rajnath Singh who is seeking a third term carrying forward the legacy of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had represented Lucknow five times in the Lok Sabha from 1991 and 2004. The Lucknow parliamentary constituency is the BJP’s citadel. The party has never lost this seat since 1991. BJP veteran and defence minister Rajnath Singh won the seat in 2014 and 2019. With no prominent candidate facing him, Rajnath Singh is expected to make a hat-trick. The SP has fielded sitting MLA Ravi Das Mehrotra while the BSP has given the ticket to a Muslim Sarwar Mallik.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi files his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections in Rae Bareli on Friday, as mother Sonia and sister Priyanka look on (File photo | PTI)
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Mohanlal Ganj: This reserved seat is adjacent to Lucknow with the Pasi community holding the key. BJP candidate and Union minister of state Kaushal Kishore is trying his luck for the third term in a row. Challenging him are the SP’s RK Chaudhary and the BSP’s Rajesh Kumar.

Barabanki: Another reserved seat adjoining Lucknow, this has the tendency of changing winners each time. However, the BJP won the seat in 2014 and retained it in 2019. Pasis among the SCs and Kurmi voters among OBCs are decisive in the constituency. There are over 20% Muslim voters here. In 2024, the BJP replaced its sitting MP Upendra Singh Rawat with Rajrani Rawat and the Congress has fielded Tanuj Punia, son of former bureaucrat and Congress leader PL Punia. The BSP has fielded Shiv Kumar Dohre.

Gonda: The BJP’s sitting MP Kirti Vardhan Singh, hailing from the royal family, is in the fray for the third consecutive term. Challenging him is the SP’s Shreya Verma, the granddaughter of party stalwart and prominent Kurmi leader Beni Prasad Verma, while the BSP has pitted a Brahmin Saurabh Mishra.

Fatehpur: The BJP has repeated its sitting MP Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti who had defeated the BSP’s Sukh Lal Verma, who was the joint SP-BSP candidate, with 54% of the votes in 2019. The SP has fielded its state chief Naresh Uttam, a Kurmi by caste, and the BSP has pinned its hopes on Manish Sachan.

Kaiserganj: The BJP has fielded Karan Bhushan Singh, son of sitting MP Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, while the SP has fielded Baghatram Mishra and the BSP has made the contest interesting by fielding another Brahmin Narendra Pandey.

Kaushambi: Adjacent to the Allahabad Lok Sabha constituency, this reserved seat is set for an interesting battle between the BJP’s sitting MP Vinod Sonkar and one of the SP’s youngest candidates, the debutant Pushpendra Saroj who is the son of SP MLA Indrajeet Saroj. The BSP has fielded Shubh Narain Gautam, a retired area development officer.

Bundelkhand

Jalaun: It is set for a three-cornered fight featuring Union Minister Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma of the BJP, Narayan Das Ahirwar of the SP, and Suresh Chandra Gautam of the BSP. While Verma has been a five-time MP and is seeking a third term from Jalaun, both the SP and BSP candidates are making their debut.

Jhansi: This land of warriors is witnessing a showdown between Anurag Sharma, the sitting BJP MP, and Pradeep Jain Aditya of the Congress. The BSP has fielded Ravi Prakash making the contest three-cornered.

Hamirpur: It is set for a tough contest between Kunwar Pushpendra Singh Chandel of the BJP and Ajendra Singh Rajput of the SP. Chandel is seeking his third term while the BSP has given an interesting dimension to the fight by fielding a Brahmin Nirdosh Kumar Dikshit.

Banda: The BJP has repeated its sitting MP RK Singh Patel to clash with Krishna Patel of the SP, along with Mayank Dwivedi of the BSP who is depending on the votes of upper castes.

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