Brisk polling in phase 5 of LS polls

New Delhi: Voters in 49 constituencies across six states and two Union Territories are casting their ballots today in a significant phase of the ongoing elections.

Despite this phase encompassing the fewest number of seats, it includes numerous high-profile constituencies with key leaders from national and regional parties in the fray. The outcomes here could shape the political landscape considerably.

Among the notable candidates are Union Ministers and party leaders. Union Minister Smriti Irani, who famously unseated Rahul Gandhi in Amethi in 2019, is again a major figure in these elections. Rahul Gandhi himself is defending his mother Sonia Gandhi’s traditional stronghold of Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh, as she has transitioned to the Rajya Sabha. Additionally, Union Ministers Piyush Goyal (Mumbai North), Bharati Pawar (Dindori), and Rajnath Singh (Lucknow) are crucial candidates for the BJP.

From the Opposition, prominent figures include Congress’s Rahul Gandhi in Raebareli, and Rohini Acharya, daughter of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, contesting against BJP’s former Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy in Saran. In Maharashtra, the battle within the Shiv Sena between factions led by current Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray is set to play out in ten constituencies, including Kalyan, where Shinde’s son, Shrikant Shinde, is a candidate.

In West Bengal, a fierce contest is anticipated among seven seats, with the Congress and CPM challenging what was expected to be a direct fight between the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress. The political climate here is tense, with all parties aggressively campaigning to secure their positions.

Maharashtra’s 13 seats are also drawing significant attention. The majority of these are in traditional Shiv Sena bastions, with the internal party rivalry adding an extra layer of complexity. Mumbai South, where former Union Minister Arvind Sawant from Shiv Sena-UBT is contesting, is another key battleground.

Uttar Pradesh and Historical Context
Uttar Pradesh remains a critical state, with the BJP having secured 13 of the 14 seats in the previous election phase, the only exception being Raebareli. This time, the focus is on whether the BJP can maintain its dominance or if the Congress can regain its foothold with Rahul Gandhi’s candidacy.

In the 2019 elections, the BJP emerged victorious in 32 of these 49 seats, underlining its substantial influence. However, the current political dynamics, marked by internal party conflicts and strong opposition campaigns, suggest that the outcomes this time could vary significantly.

Today’s voting is a pivotal moment for several high-profile politicians and their parties. The results will not only reflect public sentiment towards the current government but also set the stage for future political alignments and strategies. As voters in these key constituencies make their choices, the political fate of many prominent leaders hangs in the balance, promising a thrilling phase in this electoral battle.