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LS polls: UP fifth phase to witness high-profile contests

As Uttar Pradesh inches closer to the fifth phase of polling on May 20, the prestige of several high-profile candidates will be at stake. In the fifth phase, voting will be held on 14 Lok Sabha seats including Mohanlalganj, Lucknow, Raebareli, Amethi, Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambhi, Barabanki, Faizabad, Kaiserganj and Gonda.

In 2019, the BJP won 13 of the 14 seats in this phase while the Congress won the Raebareli seat. Union defence minister Rajnath Singh is seeking a third term from Lucknow. Backed by a strong party organisation, Rajnath Singh is on a safe wicket and the candidates pitted against him — Ravidas Mehrotra of SP and Sarwar Malik of BSP — are comparatively ‘weak’.

Union minister Smriti Irani is contesting against K L Sharma of the Congress in Amethi. Sharma is seen as a minor threat to Irani who is working for a second term from Amethi. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Raebareli in the fifth phase and is pitted against BJP’s Dinesh Pratap Singh.

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Raebareli is the second seat for the Gandhi scion. He is also contesting from Wayanad in Kerala. Another high-profile seat that will be going to polls in the fifth phase is Kaiserganj where the sitting MP and former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has been denied a ticket and his son Karan Bhushan Singh is in the electoral fray.

Karan Bhushan Singh is pitted against Bhagat Ram Mishra of SP and Narendra Pandey of BSP. Union minister Kaushal Kishore is seeking his third term in the Mohanlalganj Lok Sabha constituency. He is facing tough competition from former UP minister R K Chaudhary who is the SP candidate. The BSP candidate is Rajesh Kumar.

In Jhansi, former Union minister Pradeep Jain Aditya is contesting on a Congress ticket and is being challenged by the sitting MP, Anurag Sharma, of BJP. The BSP candidate is Ravi Prakash Maurya, a local student leader.

Union minister Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma (BJP) is seeking his sixth term as Lok Sabha member in Jalaun. He is facing first-time candidates from SP and BSP. In Hamirpur, sitting BJP MP Pushpendra Singh Chandel is seeking his third term and is being challenged by Ajendra Singh Rajput of Samajwadi Party.

In Banda, sitting BJP MP R K Singh Patel is seeking re-election. He is being challenged by Samajwadi Party’s Krishna Devi Patel and BSP’s Mayank Dwivedi — son of former BSP leader late Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi.

In Fatehpur, Union minister and sitting BJP MP, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, is also seeking her third term. She is being challenged by former SP state chief, Naresh Uttam Patel.

The Kaushambhi Lok Sabha seat has sitting BJP MP Vinod Sonkar seeking a third term while Pushpendra Saroj, a 25-year-old, is contesting on an SP ticket. Pushpendra is the son of SP leader Inderjit Saroj.

The Barabanki Lok Sabha seat is witnessing a direct contest between Rajrani Rawat of the BJP and Tanuj Punia of the Congress. In Faizabad, sitting BJP MP Lallu Singh is seeking his third term. He is pitted against veteran politician Avadesh Prasad of SP.

The Gonda Lok Sabha seat is witnessing a direct contest between Kirti Vardhan Singh, the sitting BJP MP and Shreya Varma of SP. Shreya is the granddaughter of former Union minister Beni Prasad Varma and is making her political debut in these elections.

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