LS polls fifth phase: Fate of 5 Modi Ministers at stake in 14 UP seats

The 14 seats comprise not only Congress citadels — Rae Bareli and Amethi — but also Ayodhya, the nerve centre of BJP’s Hindutva plank.
LS polls fifth phase: Fate of 5 Modi Ministers at stake in 14 UP seats

LUCKNOW: The political heartland of India will witness voting on 14 seats, including a couple of high-profile constituencies and fate of five Union ministers, in the fifth phase on May 20.

The 14 seats comprise not only Congress citadels — Rae Bareli and Amethi — but also Ayodhya, the nerve centre of BJP’s Hindutva plank. In fact, this phase will decide the tone and tenor of the sixth and seventh rounds, which will be concentrated across 27 seats of Purvanchal. Moreover, four constituencies of Bundelkhand will decide whether to let BJP achieve a hat-trick or vote for change.

The BJP had swept the phase in 2019 by winning 13 of the 14 seats in fray. While the BJP had wrested Amethi from Congress, Sonia Gandhi had retained Rae Bareli as the only party MP from UP in 2019. The SP and BSP drew a blank in 2019 and 2014. In 2024, while Congress is contesting on two seats, ally SP is contesting on rest 12 seats.

Rae Bareli

One of the most prominent seats of fifth phase is set for a fight between Rahul Gandhi and BJP MLC and Yogi minister Dinesh Pratap Singh who had switched over to the saffron party in 2018. BSP has fielded an OBC nominee.

Amethi

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

Faizabad

The seat of Ram temple is set to test BJP’s Hindutva plank. However, Faizabad has never been the saffron stronghold in the true sense. The Congress captured the seat in 2009, BSP won it in 2004 and SP in 1998. The BJP won the seat in 1991, 1996, 2014 and 2019. In 2019, BJP’s Lallu Singh, five-time MLA and an MP twice, retained it defeating SP’s Anand Sen. This time the contest is multi-cornered with SP having fielded its nine-time MLA Awdhesh Prasad, CPI former IPS officer Arvind Sena and BSP Sachhidanand Pandey.

Lucknow

The real challenge before the BJP is winning margin of 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. Lucknow parliamentary constituency is the BJP’s citadel. The party has never lost this seat since 1991. Singh won the seat in 2014 and 2019.

Mohanlal Ganj and Barabanki

Both the reserve seats are adjacent to Lucknow with Pasi community holding the key.

Mohanlal Ganj

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 seat adjoining Lucknow has have 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. In 2024, BJP replaced its MP Upendra Singh Rawat with Rajrani Rawat and Congress fielded Tanuj Punia, son of former bureaucrat and Congress leader PL Punia.

Gonda

BJP MP Kirti Vardhan Singh, from the royal family, is in the fray for the third consecutive term. Challenging him is SP’s Shreya Verma, the granddaughter of party stalwart Beni Prasad Verma, and BSP pitted a Brahmin Saurabh Mishra.

Fatehpur

BJP has repeated its MP Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti who had defeated BSP’s Sukh Lal Verma, as the joint SP-BSP candidate, in 2019. The SP fielded its state chief Naresh Uttam, a Kurmi by caste, and the BSP put stakes on Manish Sachan.

Kaiserganj

BJP has fielded Karan Bhushan Singh, son of Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, SP has named Baghatram Mishra and BSP has made the contest interesting by fielding another Brahmin Narendra Pandey.

Kaushambi

The reserved seat is set for in interesting battle between BJP MP Vinod Sonkar and one of the youngest SP candidates Pushpendra Saroj, son of SP MLA Indrajeet Saroj.

Bundelkhand

Four seats — Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur and Banda.

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