In 1st Phase, Voters To Decide Fate Of Nitin Gadkari, Karti Chidambaram

As many as 1,625 candidates are in the running in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

In 1st Phase, Voters To Decide Fate Of Nitin Gadkari, Karti Chidambaram

Voting will take place in 102 constituencies today

New Delhi:

The first phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections will see voting take place in 102 constituencies, across 21 states and Union Territories, which is close to a fifth of the total seats in the Lower House. While states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar will vote in all seven, voters in all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, all five in Uttarakhand, two seats each in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya and one each in Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Lakshadweep will finish casting their ballots on Friday.

Polling will be held in both seats of Manipur, but one of them - Outer Manipur - will vote again in the second phase. As many as 1,625 candidates are in the running. 

Here are some of the key constituencies and faces from the phase:

Nitin Gadkari, Nagpur Constituency

The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways will be contesting from the constituency, which was held by the Congress' Vilas Muttemwar for four terms before 2014. Mr Gadkari has won from the seat - home to the RSS headquarters - twice since then and will be looking to complete his hat-trick this time. The Congress candidate for these elections is Vikas Thakre, the MLA from Nagpur West and a former mayor of the city.

The battle is also between the alliances of the BJP, Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction) and NCP (Ajit Pawar faction), which is called the 'Mahayuti'; and the Congress, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and the NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar), which goes by the name of the Maha Vikas Aghadi.

Karti Chidambaram, Sivaganga Constituency

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The Sivaganga constituency, like much of Tamil Nadu, will see a three-cornered fight. The candidates are the Congress' Karti Chidambaram, the BJP's Devanathan Yadav and the AIADMK's Xavier Dass. Karti Chidambaram won from the constituency in 2019 and his father, P Chidambaram, has held the seat seven times in the past. In 2019, Karti Chidambaram had defeated H Raja of the BJP by a margin of over 3.3 lakh votes.

K Annamalai, Coimbatore Constituency

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Tamil Nadu BJP Chief and former IPS officer K Annamalai will contest from the constituency, which was won by the CPM's PR Natarajan in 2019. He will face off against the AIADMK's Singal Ramachandran and the DMK's Ganapathi Rajkumar. Coimbatore is special for the BJP because it was the only Lok Sabha constituency the party had won in 1999 and has failed to open its account in subsequent general elections, barring 2014.

Nakul Nath, Chhindwara Constituency

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The Chhindwara constituency is special for the Congress, because it was the only seat in Madhya Pradesh the party had won in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, with the remaining 28 going to the BJP. It was also one of only two won by the Congress in 2014. Nakul Nath, son of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, had emerged victorious in the seat by a margin of 37,000 votes in 2019 and will now contest against  Vivek 'Bunty' Sahu of the BJP. Kamal Nath has won nine times from the constituency and had defeated Mr Sahu in the 2023 Assembly elections. 

Dayanidhi Maran, Chennai Central Constituency

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Veteran DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran will contest against the BJP's Vinoj Selvam in the Dravidian party's stronghold of Chennai Central. Mr Maran, a former Union Telecom minister, has won from the constituency thrice, including in 2019. Mr Selvam is the President of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in Tamil Nadu and had unsuccessfully contested the 2021 Assembly elections.