Mumbai, April 17: As the countdown to India's Lok Sabha elections begins, all eyes are on the battleground state of Uttar Pradesh, set to cast its vote in the first phase on April 19. With 80 parliamentary seats at stake, Uttar Pradesh remains a pivotal battleground that could significantly influence the national political narrative. The first phase of polling on April 19 sets the tone for the intense electoral contest ahead, particularly in western Uttar Pradesh, where eight key constituencies will witness the democratic exercise. These constituencies are Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzzafarnagar, Bijnor, Nagina, Muradabad, Rampur, and Pilibhit.

The strategic alliance between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) under the banner of the INDIA Bloc adds a layer of intrigue to the electoral equation, signalling a united front against the incumbent BJP. For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Uttar Pradesh represents a crucial battleground and a linchpin in their ambitious electoral strategy. With aspirations to secure a commanding mandate of 400 seats, the saffron party views a resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh as imperative. With the first phase of the general elections drawing closer, let's examine key candidates and their constituencies in contention for Uttar Pradesh's Lok Sabha polls. Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Phase 1 Polling To Begin on April 19, Check State-Wise List of Constituencies Going to Polls.

Pilibhit:  BJP, SP, and BSP Face Off

Pilibhit, nestled among the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, boasts a unique electoral history of repeatedly sending women representatives to the Indian Parliament. The BJP's decision to nominate Jitin Prasada, a former close associate of Rahul Gandhi, for the constituency has sparked considerable attention. Notably, this move comes as Pilibhit was previously represented by Varun Gandhi, who is sidelined in the current electoral scenario.

Alongside the BJP's Jitin Prasada, the Samajwadi Party's Bhagwat Saran Gangwar and the Bahujan Samaj Party's (BSP's) Anis Ahmed Khan emerge as formidable challengers. Historically, Pilibhit's political landscape has witnessed shifts from the Praja Socialist Party (PSP) to the Indian National Congress (INC), with Menaka Gandhi exerting influence over the region. However, the tide turned in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, favouring the BJP, with Varun Gandhi clinching victory.

Muzaffarnagar: BJP Vs SP Vs BSP

Muzaffarnagar emerges as a focal point of political intrigue and fervour as the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections promise a riveting showdown among prominent contenders. With the constituency witnessing a fierce battle between the SP, BSP, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), and the BJP, the dynamics of caste-based politics come to the forefront. Notably, the Jat community, constituting approximately 18 per cent of the voter base, holds sway alongside the significant Dalit electorate, comprising nearly 14 per cent.

Notably, central to this electoral theatre stands Dr Sanjiv Kumar Baliyan, Union Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries, representing the BJP. His electoral triumphs in 2014 and 2019, albeit by slim margins, reaffirm his enduring influence. Opposing him are formidable contenders: Harendra Milak of the SP and Dara Singh Prajapati of the BSP, whose prowess in mobilising their respective bases adds layers to an already intricate political tapestry. Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 1: From Gaurav Gogoi in Jorhat to Sarbananda Sonowal in Dibrugarh, List of Key Candidates and Constituencies in Assam.

Saharanpur's Three-Way Contest

In the political theatre of the Saharanpur Lok Sabha constituency, the battle lines are drawn again between the BJP, SP and BSP, with key contenders vying for supremacy amid electoral history. The contest is set to feature key candidates such as Raghav Lakhanpal from the BJP and Imran Masood from the INC, alongside Majid Ali representing the BSP. In the previous 2019 elections, Haji Fazlur Rehman of BSP clinched victory with a narrow margin, closely trailed by BJP's Raghav Lakhanpal.

A similar scenario unfolded in 2014, with Lakhanpal securing the seat for the BJP, edging out his INC rival Imran Masood. As Saharanpur gears up for yet another electoral showdown on April 19, the question looms: will history repeat itself, or will the dynamics of this electoral landscape witness a dramatic shift?

Moradabad: INDIA Bloc's Ruchi Veera Vs BJP's Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar

In the electoral battleground of Moradabad Lok Sabha constituency in western Uttar Pradesh, a gripping political saga unfolds as key contenders from the SP and BJP vie for supremacy. Ruchi Veera, representing the INDIA Bloc under SP's banner, squares off against BJP's Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar Singh in what promises to be a fiercely contested race. The BJP, buoyed by its initial victory in 2014 amid the Narendra Modi wave, faces stiff opposition from the entrenched SP stronghold, albeit grappling with internal discord. Dr ST Hasan, the incumbent MP, won the SP in 2019, securing 649,416 votes, with Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar trailing closely behind with 551,538 votes.

Rampur's Electoral Battle

In the electoral arena of Rampur constituency in Uttar Pradesh, a compelling narrative unfolds as key contenders from the SP, BJP, and BSP vie for dominance. Mohibullah Nadvi, representing the INDIA bloc under SP's banner, squares off against BJP's Ghanshyam Lodhi, while Zeeshan Khan represents BSP. In the previous 2019 Lok Sabha elections, SP stalwart Azam Khan clinched victory with 5,59,177 votes, with BJP's Jayaprada trailing closely behind. However, Khan's absence due to incarceration casts uncertainty over SP's prospects in Rampur, a constituency he has long dominated.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 17, 2024 08:36 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website