Rahul & Tharoor, a ‘King’ & the Gowdas, Hema Malini & Arun ‘Ram’ Govil: Phase II poll fare

As many as 1,210 candidates from 12 states and a Union Territory (UT) will contest Phase 2 of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

ByV V P Sharma

Published Apr 25, 2024 | 8:36 PM Updated Apr 25, 2024 | 9:11 PM

Kerala snake boat race. (iStock)

Phase 2 of Lok Sabha elections 2024 is a battle of Gods and kings, scions and stars, commoners and Bahubalis.

Polling will be held on Friday, 26 April, in 88 seats. The Outer Manipur seat will also see the second phase of polling. Polling is across 12 states and a UT.

Here are the state-wise details:

All 20 seats of Kerala, 14 of the 28 seats in Karnataka, 13 seats in Rajasthan, eight seats each in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, seven in Madhya Pradesh, five each in Assam and Bihar, three seats each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, and one seat each in Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir.

As many as 1,210 candidates from 13 states and Union Territories (UTs) will contest phase 2 of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Kerala received a maximum of 500 nominations from 20 Parliamentary Constituencies, followed by 491 nominations from 14 PCs in Karnataka.

One parliamentary constituency in Tripura received a minimum of 14 nominations, and the Nanded Constituency in Maharashtra received a maximum of 92 nominations.

Also Read: Cong chief Mallikarjun Kharge mocks PM Modi, offers to explain party’s ‘Nyay Patra’

Top personalities of the second phase

Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor are the Congress’ big guns in the fray. Actors Hema Malini and Arun ‘Ram’ Govil and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will test their fates as BJP candidates. Prominent Marxists KK Shailaja and Thomas Isaac are in contention in Kerala.

Gandhi is the sitting MP from Wayanad in Kerala and is seeking re-election. He is pitted against CPI’s Annie Raja and BJP’s K Surendran.

In the 2019 election, Gandhi secured victory by a substantial margin of more than 7 lakh votes against his closest rival, CPI’s PP Suneer.

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor hopes to retain the Thiruvananthapuram seat for the fourth time. He is pitted against Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar from the BJP and CPI’s Pannyan Raveendran.

Hema Malini, representing the Mathura constituency since 2014, is contesting against Congress’ Mukesh Dhangar. Om Birla, a two-time MP from Kota, will face Prahlad Gunjal from the Congress party.

Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is eyeing a third win from the Jodhpur seat. At the same time, Congress candidate Karan Singh Uchiyarda would look to put a spanner in the BJP candidate’s works.

Also Read: NCBC to summon K’taka chief secretary over blanket reservation to Muslims

Other contenders in the arena 

In Karnataka, Tejasvi Surya, the sitting MP for Bangalore South and the national president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), will face Congress’ Sowmya Reddy.

Bhupesh Baghel, former chief minister of Chhattisgarh and Congress leader, is contesting from Rajnandgaon, a stronghold of the BJP for over 30 years.

Baghel is pitted against BJP’s Santosh Pandey, who won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections succeeding Abhishek Singh, the son of former Chief Minister Raman Singh, also from the BJP.

Replacing three-time MP Rajendra Agarwal, who has held the Meerut seat since 2004, Arun Govil, famous for portraying Lord Ram in the Ramayan TV series, is making his electoral debut against BSP’s Devvrat Kumar Tyagi and SP’s Sunita Verma.

Also Read: BJP fell back on falsehoods as ‘Modi Ki Guarantee’ vanished without a trace: Chidambaram

God’s Own Election

In Kerala, the main contest is expected between the Congress and the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF). Still, the BJP is also trying to fight in some constituencies, such as Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram.

In Thrissur, the BJP has fielded actor-turned-politician Suresh Gopi, facing off against Congress’ K Muraleedharan and CPI(M)’s VS Sunilkumar. Muraleedharan won from Vatakara in the 2019 general elections.

The BJP has never won a seat in Kerala, but Gopi hopes to win from Thrissur this time. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Gopi recorded an impressive surge in vote share to 28.19 percent, marginally behind CPI’s 30.85 percent.

TN Prathapan, however, bagged the seat by garnering 39.83 percent votes.

In Attingal, Union Minister V Muraleedharan is the BJP’s candidate against Adoor Prakash of Congress and V Joy of CPI(M). Pathanamthitta is another key constituency where former defence minister AK Antony’s son, Anil Antony, is in the fray.

The contest for the Alappuzha seat in Kerala has turned into a prestige battle for the Congress with general secretary KC Venugopal’s return to the Lok Sabha poll fray after 2014 as the party looks to wrest the only seat it lost to the LDF in its landslide 19-1 victory in Kerala in the 2019 polls.

Venugopal has not lost any major election in his career. He won the Alappuzha Assembly seat thrice in a row in 1996, 2001, and 2006 and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Alappuzha in 2009 and 2014.

In 2019, he did not contest after the party elevated him to the post of the AICC general secretary.

In West Bengal, Sukanta Majumdar, incumbent BJP MP from Balurghat in West Bengal, is seeking re-election. He is pitted against Biplab Mitra of the Trinamool Congress and Joydeb Siddhanta of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

Also Read: EC seeks responses from Cong and BJP following complaints against Modi, Kharge, Rahul 

First half of the Karnataka exercise

Karnataka’s 14 constituencies will vote in the second phase on 26 April.

Bangalore Rural, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Bangalore South, Mandya, and Mysore are the key constituencies going to the polls in Karnataka in the second phase.

Karnataka has 28 seats, of which the BJP won 25 in 2019. This time, the BJP is contesting 25, while its ally in the state, JDS, is fighting in three. All three seats that the JDS is contesting are going to polls in the second phase: Hassan, Mandya, and Kolar.

In Mandya, former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy faces Venkataramane Gowda from Congress. In Hassan, JDS leader Prajwal Revanna is up against Shreyas Patel Gowda of Congress.

Bangalore South and Mysuru are other key seats going to polls on 26 April. Tejasvi Surya is seeking another term from Bangalore South, while Yaduveer Wadiyar, royal scion, is contesting from Mysuru. Wadiyar was picked here in place of sitting MP Pratap Simha.

Tejasvi Surya is up against Soumya Reddy, daughter of state minister Ramalinga Reddy. She had lost the 2023 assembly election from Jayanagar by just 16 votes.

In Karnataka’s upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Lingayats and Scheduled Tribes play pivotal roles. The parties intensify efforts to secure ST votes, rectify past losses, and ensure broad voter outreach beyond caste distinctions.

Also Read: ‘Vote bank hungry’ Cong wants to implement reservation on basis of religion: PM

The Gowdas: Karnataka’s biggest poll family

JD(S) patriarch and former PM HD Deve Gowda’s son HD Kumaraswamy, son-in-law, famous cardiologist Dr CN Manjunath, and grandson Prajwal Revanna are in the fray.

State JD(S) chief and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is fighting from Mandya, and Prajwal Revanna is contesting from Hassan while Dr Manjunath is a BJP candidate from Bangalore Rural.

The Deve Gowda family is represented in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Karnataka Assembly and Council.

Gowda is a member of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka. His son Kumaraswamy is an MLA from Channapatna. His wife Anitha once won from Ramanagara as an MLA.

Gowda’s elder son HD Revanna (Prajwal’s father) is an MLA from Holenarsipura. His wife Bhavani represented a Zilla Panchayat. Their other son, Suraj, is an MLC.

Also Read: Wealth redistribution: Congress says it has no such plans even as BJP attacks the party

K’taka Congress tickets to kin of ministers

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s son-in-law Radhakrishna Doddamani is the candidate in the Gulbarga (Kalaburagi) Lok Sabha constituency.

PWD Minister Satish Jarkiholi’s daughter Priyanka Jarkiholi fights from Chikkodi.

Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter, Sowmya Reddy, is pitted against BJP’s sitting MP, Tejasvi Surya from Bangalore South.

Textile Minister Shivanand Patil’s daughter Samyukta S Patil is contesting from Bagalkot, Woman and Child Welfare Minister Laxmi Hebbalkar’s son Mrinal Hebbalkar is fighting from Belgaum (Belagavi), and Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre’s son Sagar Khandre is from Bidar.

Former Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan’s son Mansoor Ali Khan is from Bangalore Central, and Minister SS Mallikarjun’s wife Prabha Mallikarjun is in the fray from Davangere.

Read: Ex-civil servants endorse letter to EC for action against Modi’s “outrageously communal speech”

Familial ties in K’taka BJP 

The Jarkiholi brothers – Ramesh and Balachandra – have been given BJP tickets. Late minister Umesh Katti’s family got two tickets – his son Nikhil Katti and brother Ramesh Katti.

Mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy’s brothers Somashekhar Reddy (Bellary City) and Karunakar Reddy (Harappanahalli) are BJP candidates.

Minister Shashikala Jolle (Nippani MLA) is the wife of Chikkodi MP Annasaheb Jolle.

Gulbarga MP Umesh Jadhav’s son Avinash Jadhav is the Chincholi BJP candidate. Tumkur MP GS Basavaraj’s son Jyoti Ganesh is the Tumkur City MLA.

Tourism Minister Anand Singh’s son, Siddharth Singh, has replaced him as the Vijayanagar candidate.

Basavanagudi MLA LA Ravi Subramanya is Bangalore South MP Tejasvi Surya’s uncle. Transport Minister B Sriramulu and his nephew TH Suresh Babu are both candidates.

BJP strongman BS Yediyurappa’s son BY Vijayendra is the Shikaripura candidate. Vijayendra’s brother BY Raghavendra is the Shimoga MP.

Also Read: Cross-verification of votes: SC reserves verdict after noting EC’s answers to queries

Uttar Pradesh: Mathura’s Hema, Meerut’s ‘Ram’

Amroha, Meerut, Baghpat, and Gautam Buddh Nagar seats will see a triangular contest between the ruling NDA bloc, the Opposition INDIA alliance and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Mathura and Ghaziabad will witness a BJP versus Congress fight to the finish. The BJP will face off against the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party in Aligarh and Bulandshahar.

Hema Malini and Arun Govil are well-known BJP faces from Mathura and Meerut. In Amroha, incumbent MP Kunwar Danish Ali is eyeing his second victory, which has never been a stronghold of any specific political party.

Ali, who fought from the seat on a BSP ticket in 2019, is fighting as a Congress candidate against BJP’s Kanwar Singh Tanwar and BSP’s Mujahid Hussain.

Baghpat, a centre of Jat politics in western Uttar Pradesh, has been represented by former deputy PM Chaudhary Charan Singh in the past. The Rashtriya Lok Dal is a party headed by Singh’s descendants, first led by son Ajit Singh and now his son Jayant Chaudhary.

This time, RLD is contesting in alliance with BJP. RLD has fielded Raj Kumar Sangwan. His main rival is SP’s Amarpal Sharma. BSP’s Praveen Bainsala, a Gujar by caste, has further made the election interesting on this prestigious seat.

Ghaziabad has been with the BJP since it came into existence in 2009. Senior BJP leader and defence minister Rajnath Singh was an MP from here in 2009.

After that, it was represented by the BJP’s General VK Singh, who won this seat twice. This time, the party fielded local MLA Atul Garg. Dolly Sharma from Congress and Nand Kishor Pundir from BSP are his main rivals.

Also Read: ‘My mother sacrificed mangalsutra for country’: Priyanka tears down PM Modi’s jibes

Congress challenges in Rajasthan

Having lost the recent Assembly elections in Rajasthan, the Congress now faces a strange rebellion in the current polls.

Congress candidate from Banswara Arvind Damor did not withdraw his nomination paper despite the party’s decision to support the Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP). Kapur Singh, the party’s candidate for the Bagidora assembly by-poll of Banswara district, also did not withdraw his nomination.

Congress in-charge for Rajasthan, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, posted on X on Sunday evening that the party will support BAP candidates for the Banswara Lok Sabha seat and Bagidora assembly by-poll, saying that saving democracy and the constitution of India is the party’s primary objective.

Both the candidates of Congress — Damor and Singh — did not withdraw their nominations on the last day. Party leaders said they could not contact them. PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra said that action will be taken against both.

Also Read: Kharge attacks PM Modi over his remarks about Congress manifesto

Maharashtra second phase

Eight seats in Maharashtra will go to polls in the second phase five from Vidarbha, and three from the Marathwada region. The ruling Shiv Sena is competing for three seats, while the BJP is vying for four.

The eight constituencies in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions are Buldhana, Akola, Amravati, Yavatmal, Washim, Hingoli, Nanded, and Parbhani.

The Ajit Pawar-led NCP has allocated a single seat to its ally, the Rashtriya Samaj Party (RSP). On the opposition front, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena will compete in four seats, the Congress in three, and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP) on one seat.

The eight constituencies present a mixed bag for the ruling alliance and the opposition Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi.

However, the spotlight is on the Nanded and Amravati seats in the second phase.

The Nanded constituency has historically been a stronghold of the Congress. The party suffered a jolt with veteran leader Ashok Chavan, who previously represented the seat twice, joining the BJP.

He is leaving no stone unturned for BJP candidate Prataprao Govindrao Chikhalikar Patil’s success, treating it as his own electoral battle.

In the Amaravati constituency, the recent Supreme Court ruling, which upheld BJP candidate Navneet Rana’s caste certificate just hours before her nomination filing, has come as a relief for the party.

Despite the heightened polarization in the Parbhani Lok Sabha seat, sitting Shiv Sena UBT MP Sanjay Jadhav, known for his unwavering loyalty to Uddhav Thackeray, has been reaffirmed as the party’s candidate.

This decision comes as the ruling alliance conceded the seat to the Ajit Pawar-led NCP, who has fielded Dhangar community leader Mahadev Jankar as their candidate.

In Akola constituency, the primary contest revolves around three key candidates: Anup Sanjay Dhotre of the BJP, Abhay Kashinath Patil of the Congress, and Prakash Yashwant Ambedkar of the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi.

Read: Electoral bonds: Plea in SC seeks SIT probe into alleged quid pro quo between parties, corporates

Bihar scene

The Lok Sabha polls in Bihar will be held in all seven phases. Five constituencies in Bihar will cast votes  in Phase 2- Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnia, Bhagalpur, Banka on Friday.

In Bihar’s Purnia constituency, former Member of Parliament Rajesh Ranjan (also known as Pappu Yadav), who recently merged his party with Congress, aims to represent the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).

Ignoring Congress’ advice, Yadav is contesting the elections as an independent candidate.

A former Purnia MP from the 1990s, Pappu Yadav is back in the poll fray after almost 20 years. After the RJD and the Congress denied him an INDIA bloc ticket, Yadav filed his nomination as an Independent.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj)