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Only 51 seats are polling in this fifth phase, Besides the polling on Anantnag seat gets completed. BJP had 40 of these 51 seats in 2014.
Ladakh seat, which has an electorate of just 1.74 Lakh voters is the 2nd smallest in the country in terms of number of voters, behind Lakshadweep, which has 54,266. This seat was won by BJP last time by a mere 35 votes on the strength of its promise to make Ladakh a Union Territory. Since nothing has happened on this promise, and the seat has been a steadfast Congress bastion over the years, Congress is likely to retain this seat.
Anantnag will go to NC
Parts of Vindhya, Bundelkhand and Madhya Bharat go to poll in this phase, involving Rewa (Vindhya), Tikamgarh, Kahjuraho, and Satna (Bundelkhand), Damoh, Hoshangabad and Betul (Madhya Bharat).
Satna is the only constituency, which is having a tight contest, but the Modi factor is giving an edge to BJP. Though INC has given a Brahmin candidate, Raja Ram Tripathi, in a Brahmin dominated constituency, the tendency among Brahmins to vote on ‘Nation First’ considerations means Brahmins will be divided 50-50. This factor will provide an otherwise not very popular Ganesh Singh the necessary impetus to eke out a victory. All other seats are safe BJP seats.
MP 7-0 to BJP
13 seats of Rajasthan in Marwar, Mewar, Hadoti and Merwara voted in the 1st phase. The remaining 12 seats go to polls tomorrow. The regions covered are Jaipur area (Jaipur, Jaipur-rural), North-Eastern Rajasthan (Dausa, Karauli-Dholpur, Bharatpur, Alwar), Marwar (Nagaur), Shekhawati (Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Churu), and Bikana (Bikaner, Ganganagar).
4 out of these 12 seats are reserved for SCs and 1 for STs. There is a very tight contest between BJP and Congress in the 2 N-E reserved seats of Karauli-Dholpur and Bharatpur, with Congress edge in the former, and BJP edge in the latter. Dausa ST seat is also tight with edge to BJP. Nagaur is very very tight where NDA’s constituent RLP is locked in a dead heat with Congress. However, Hanuman Beniwal’s very positive role in swinging the Jodhpur and Barmer seats towards BJP has made the BJP-RSS combine pull out all stops in favour of Beniwal. Rajputs have been mollified by Gajendra Singh, and are now 50-50 for Beniwal. Jats form 20% of this constituency and Rajputs 11.5% with another 11% formed by Brahmins. After initial hesitation, Brahmins are likely to go for Modi ally. 13% Muslims and 19% SCs are traditional Congress supporters but Beniwal has strong pockets of support among Dalits. Besides, Kayamkhani Muslims (Rajput converts) have been traditional BJP supporters, but Vasundhara’s confidant Yunus Khan, a Kayamkhani, is following her orders and trying to prevent Kayamkhanis from voting for NDA. Nothing can be predicted for this seat today, and I will give edge to INC here.
Sikar is also a close contest with edge to BJP.
Alwar has been reduced to a no-contest. Mahārāja Jitendra Singh is set to lose this seat again.
All other seats are being won by BJP without a sweat.
Rajasthan: 12 seats: BJP 10, INC 2
Avadh (Dhaurahra, Sitapur, Lucknow, Mohanlalganj, Barabanki, Raibareli, Amethi, Faizabad), Saryu (Gonda, Bahraich, Kaiserganj), and 3 seats of Prayag and Bundelkhand region (Kaushambi, Fatehpur, Banda) are up for grabs in this round.
The news of a head-butting within the MGB is now doing the rounds with greater and greater vigour. After the deep scare that SP suffered in Kannauj, making the seat a toss-up, all bets are now off. My sense is that Yadavs have already decided not to vote for BSP candidats, and Dalits in these parts are majority Pasis, Sonkars, and non-Jatav category. Even the Jatavs are planning a switch to BJP after learning about the Yadav perfidy in seats like Hardoi, Misrikh, Farrukhabad and Unnao.
This has made most of the seats safe for BJP. The only seats in a contest are Kaushambi and Amethi. Raibareli is in the safe territory for Congress as of now, though the chances of Dinesh Pratap Singh making it a contest are fairly high.
Kaushambi is an SC reserved seat. Vinod Sonkar of BJP had won this seat with 36% votes, but SP and BSP together had got 53% votes. SP has given a new candidate, and INC has given a Pasi candidate. Kushwahas and non-Yadav OBCs are the decisive factor in this seat that straddles the Ganga. Kunda seat of Raja Bhaiyya is also in this PC. The Yadavs are a small number. With the buzz going around that MGB has fallen apart, this seats is leaning BJP.
Amethi is the biggest news of this round. Of the 5 segments – Amethi, Gauriganj, Jagdishpur, Tiloi, and Salon, 4 are in Amethi district, and Salon is in Raibareli district. Rahul Gandhi won this seat with 62% votes in 2009, which got reduced to 47% votes in 2014. 34% votes were taken by Smriti Irani, while BSP and AAP together polled 9.5% votes. This shows that the Election was fairly close in 2014 itself. Continued insouciance of Rahul Gandhi, and energetic nursing of this constituency by Smriti Irani through these five years has made it even closer. The fact that the punters are no longer offering any bets for this seat is a story that needs to be flagged. Sanjay Singh was supposed to provide the political heft to Congress, but he is busy saving his own Sultanpur seat, and has hardly contributed. The buzz that Sanjay Singh is acting in concert with Yogi Adityanath has completely demoralised the workers. SP had helped Rahul Gandhi on the ‘qatl ki raat’ in a big way. No such help is likely this time.
I am giving an edge to Smriti Irani in this contest.
UP: 14 seats: BJP 13, INC 1
Bihar – 5 Seats:
5 seats of Saran (Saran, Hajipur) and Mithilanchal (Madhubani, Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur)
With the kind of confusion and daggers-in-the-back being followed by the combo of RJD+, this is an easy round to project. With VIP contesting 2 seats and Congress undercutting them in Madhubani, and others not pulling their weights, the goose of GB is well and truly cooked. It’s NDA all the way.
Bihar: 5 seats: BJP 3, JDU 1, LJP 1
Koderma, Hazaribagh, Khunti, and Ranchi.
Babulal Marandi is the GB candidate in Koderma against Annapurna Devi Yadav. Raj Kumar Yadav of CPI (ML) had finished runners-up in 2014 with over 2.5 lakh votes, and is in the fray this time too. Marandi fighting this seat is curious as not a single segment of this constituency is ST reserved. He is unlikely to win this general seat as not one general or OBC is likely to vote for him. Easy for BJP.
Hazaribagh is easy for Jayant Sinha. Sanjay Seth vs Subodh Kant Sahay is a riveting contest in Ranchi, but BJP has an edge due to the urban voter and Modi factor.
Arjun Munda is finding it difficult in an ST reserved constituency against the Gathbandhan. INC has the edge right now.
Jharkhand: 4 seats: BJP 3, Congress 1
East Ganga (Bangaon, Barrackpur), and West Ganga (Howrah, Uluberia, Serampore, Hooghly, Arambag) regions are polling in this round.
Matua factor, and strong local influence will see both East Ganga seats go to BJP. Arjun Singh’s muscle power wikk be a big factor in neutralising TMC goondaism. Howrah is shaping up as a strong fight. BJP has an edge due to the large Bihari-Marwari population and the Howrah riots in which Hindus badly suffered due to the partisan conduct of TMC govt.
Other 4 seats are going to with TMC in spite of a very spirited challenge by BJP in Hooghly.
West Bengal: 7 seats: BJP 3, TMC 4