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Dynamite News
DN Bureau

Lok Sabha election: Six big faces to watch out in first phase of polling on Friday

BJP's Nitin Gadkari, K Annamalai, Congress' Nakul Nath and Gaurav Gogoi

New Delhi: With just a day left for the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections to be held on April 19, let us look at the big faces in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA versus the opposition's INDIA bloc.

The Coimbatore Lok Sabha seat will witness a high-stakes battle, with Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai facing DMK leader Ganapathy P Rajkumar and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam AIADMK's Singai Ramachandran.

The candidature of its Tamil Nadu state president shows that the BJP is pressing hard to increase its presence in South India. Annamalai faces strong competition from parties like DMK and AIADMK, which hold prominent significance in Tamil Nadu with their dedicated followers.

In his post on X, Annamalai said, "For an honest political change to take place in Tamil Nadu, for youth politics to be born, for equal opportunities to flourish for all, for the pride of Kongu land to be known throughout the country, for Coimbatore to travel on the path of development, I earnestly request all the voters of the Coimbatore Parliament to vote for the lotus symbol."

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, will be eyeing a third straight victory from Maharashtra's Nagpur seat. The seat will witness the contest between senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari and Congress candidate Vikas Thakre, who is currently the Nagpur West MLA.

Recently, Nitin Gadkari released 'Vachan Nama' (Manifesto) for the Nagpur Lok Sabha constituency. "We plan to open an organic fruits and vegetables and foodgrains market in Nagpur," he said.

"I am 101 per cent sure of my victory. This time I will win the election with a very good margin. Given the support of the public, their enthusiasm, the hard work of the party workers, I will try my best to win with a margin of more than 5 lakhs," Gadkari said after his name was announced by the party.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Nitin Gadkari registered victory with a massive vote share of 55.7 per cent. He defeated the current Maharashtra Congress President, Nana Patole, with a victory margin of 2,16,009 votes.

Jitin Prasada, who quit Congress in 2021, is one of the prominent faces of the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections as he replaced two-time MP from Pilibhit, Varun Gandhi.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demonstrated a solid majority in UP in the previous two Lok Sabha elections, gaining the majority of seats.

The Samajwadi Party fielded Bhagwant Saran Gangwar, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) fielded Anees Ahmes Khan against Prasada.

Prasada secured victory in the 2004 elections from Shahajahanpur and the 2009 elections from Dharura seats.

In the 2019 elections, BJP leader Feroze Varun Gandhi of the BJP emerged victorious in Pilibhit, securing a notable mandate with 704,549 votes with 59.4 per cent of votes.

Former Bihar Chief Minister, Jitan Ram Manjhi is contesting the Gaya seat in Bihar. This election holds important political significance for the 79-year-old Manjhi.

Gaya has the highest number of 14 candidates contesting the elections. In the 2024 election, the BJP has left the Gaya (reserved) seat for its ally, the Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S).

Jitan Ram Manjhi and former minister and RJD candidate Kumar Sarvjeet are in the electoral fray.

The seat was earlier represented in parliament by Vijay Kumar, alias Vijay Manjhi of JD(U).

In the last Lok Sabha election, JD (U) candidate defeated Manjhi by a margin of more than 1.52 lakh votes. Manjhi's HAM was part of a grand alliance in the last election.

Jitan Ram Manjhi earlier said that whenever they are going, everyone is raising slogans of 'Abki Baar 400 paar'.

"Wherever we are going, everyone is raising slogans of 'Abki baar 400 paar'. People themselves are saying that they will vote for PM Modi. We don't see any challenge," he said.

The BJP is leaving no stone unturned to snatch the alone seat won by the Congress in the 2019 elections, Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh.

Nakul Nath, son of former Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath is fighting again from the Chhindwara seat against BJP candidate Vivek Bunty Sahu, who had lost to Kamal Nath in the last two assembly polls.

The BJP already showed in the recently conducted assembly polls that it has an upper advantage in the Hindi heartland states.

In the 2019 elections, Congress leader Nakul Nath got a total of 47.1 per cent of vote share whereas the defeated BJP candidate touched 44.1 per cent.

Madhya Pradesh has a total of 29 Lok Sabha seats. After filing the nomination papers, Nakul Nath said, "I have full faith that the people of Chhindwara will give their love and blessings to me again."

The Jorhat seat in Assam will decide if the Congress' deputy leader in Lok Sabha, Gaurav Gogoi can make it to the elected house this time too. The Constituency has been seen as a stronghold of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

However, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi's decision to contest the elections from Jorhat, instead of his family's stronghold Kaziranga (erstwhile Kaliabor) -- from where he is sitting MP -- has made the contest interesting.

Topon Kumar Gogoi, the sitting MP, will contest against Gaurav Gogoi. In the 2019 elections, Topon got 5,43,288 of votes while Congress candidate Sushanta Borgohain got 4,60,635 of votes. (ANI)

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