National

2024 Lok Sabha Elections: Prominent Names On the Cards For The First Phase

Outlook looks at major and prominent names across the country who are in the fray for the first phase of polling.

X and PTI
(L-R) Imran Masood, Nitin Gadkari, Chandrasekhar Azad Photo: X and PTI
info_icon

Seven phases, 543 seats and with a palette of political signifiers in a mix to elect representatives to the 18th Lok Sabha, the pulse of the nation beats strong in the prelude to the biggest ever General Elections in the country. Among the 543, 102 constituencies spread across 21states will be going to polls in the first phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, kicking off the dance of democracy, on April 19. Beyond the surface contest between the BJP-led NDA and the Congress-led India bloc, a spate of regional parties and independent candidates also look to make their mark in the electoral landscape. Outlook looks at major and prominent names across the country who are in the fray for the first phase of polling.

Nitin Gadkari (BJP, Maharashtra): One of the first high-profile leaders to head into polls, BJP Leader and Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari is on the cards for the first phase of the elections on April 19, all set to contest from Nagpur for a third consecutive time. Having defeated seven-time veteran Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar by over two lakh votes in 2014, Gadkari retained the seat by defeating current Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole in 2019. Setting his eye on a third win on the trot, Gadkari will go against sitting INC MLA from Nagpur West, Vikas Thakre.

Jitin Prasad (BJP, Uttar Pradesh): The Pilibhit constituency in Uttar Pradesh is set to host a high-voltage three-pronged fight, holding considerable electoral significance. Jitin Prasada, who joined the BJP in 2021, is set to contest against Bhagwant Saran Gangwar of the Samajwadi Party, and Anees Ahmes Khan of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from the constituency, replacing Varun Gandhi. In 2004, Jitin Prasada, running on a Congress ticket from the Shahjahanpur constituency, had won the Lok Sabha elections, was appointed as the Minister of State for Steel in his first term as an MP, repeating his performance in 2009 Lok Sabha elections. However, this was followed by losses in the 2014, 2019 and 2017 UP elections. 

T Soundararajan (BJP, Tamil Nadu): BJP leader from Tamil Nadu, Tamilisai Soundararajan is set to contest the polls in the first phase, from the Chennai South seat. Having served as the State General Secretary in 2007, State Vice-President in 2010 and as National Secretary, All India BJP in 2017, she was appointed Governor of Telangana and Lt Governor of Puducherry in 2019. Having returned to active politics, she will go against DMK’s Thamizhachi Thangapandian and AIADMK’s Jayakumar Jayavardhan, and with her popular stature yet history of poor electoral performances, the contest will be an interesting one to look out for.

K Annamalai (BJP, Tamil Nadu) : Coimbatore, a significant seat going to polls in the very first phase will see BJP's young and dynamic Tamil Nadu president and former IPS officer K Annamalai square off against DMK’s Ganapathy P Rajkumar and AIADMK leader Singai Ramachandran. Although, having been praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his vision and dynamism ensuring a wide caste support, Annamalai has talked of the contest being significantly complex in the industrially rich constituency of Coimbatore.

Nakul Nath (Congress, Madhya Pradesh): Son of Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, Nakul Nath will contest from the adivasi dominated Chhindwara, looking to retain the seat, an established Congress stronghold. Kamal Nath, who has won the seat nine times since 1980 passed on the baton to his son in the 2019 polls where Chhindwara became the only seat, out of 29, which the BJP failed to clinch, thus making Nakul Nath the lone Congress MP from the state. Nakul, touted to be the richest MP, will go against BJP’s Vivek Sahu and BSP’s Umakant Bandewar.

Chandrasekhar Azad Ravan(ASP, Uttar Pradesh): Ambedkarite activist and noted firebrand Dalit leader of the Azad Samaj Party (ASP), Ravan burst onto the scene of Uttar Pradesh’s layered politics with a promise of ensuring a different brand of politics centred around essential social justice. Contesting from Nagina, which is going into polls in the first phase, the seat will see Ravan go against BJP’s Om Kumar, SP’s Manoj Kumar and BSP’s Surendra Pal Singh. The constituency, which has seen MPs from BJP (2014), BSP(2019) and SP (2014) come to power since it came into existence, Ravan’s political support heats up the contest in the seat with over 3.5 lakh Dalit voters.

Imran Masood (Congress, Uttar Pradesh): Representing the Congress-SP alliance in the politically significant seat of Saharanpur in Western Uttar Pradesh, Imran Masood will go against Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma of the BJP, and Majid Ali of the BSP, as the lone Congress candidate from the area in the first phase. Although Masood has lost four elections - the 2012 assembly polls, the 2014 parliamentary election, the 2017 assembly election, and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls since his political debut, his hold over Muslim voters in the constituency cannot be denied. Expected to be a three-way contest, Masood looks to put up a strong fight in a seat which the Congress managed to win for the last time in 1984.

Advertisement

Nisith Pramanik (BJP, West Bengal): Since joining the BJP from TMC back in 2021, Nisith Pramanik has been paved his way to become one of the most noted faces on the eastern front. Looking to retain the constituency of Cooch Behar, Nisith Pramanik has managed to remain the talk of the town, through his performance and controversies. Winning the seat back in 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections, Pramanik was rewarded with a place in the Ministries of Home Affairs and Youth Affairs and continues to be BJP's primary face in the stronghold of North Bengal. He goes against TMC's trustable Rajbanshi face Jagadish Chandra Parma Basunia.

Advertisement

Dayanidhi Maran (DMK, Tamil Nadu): Veteran DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran, looking to ride on DMK's hold in the seat of Chennai Central, is all set to enter into a contest with BJP's Vinoj P Selvam, a dynamic young face and the current State President of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in Tamil Nadu. Having won constituency in 2004, 2009 and 2019, Dayanidhi, son of late union minister Murasoli Maran, had also served as the Union minister of communications and information technology in the 2004 UPA government. Selvam is expected to put up a good fight for the seat, however, it is being said Maran's focus on welfare and his experience might give him the necessary edge in retaining the seat.

Advertisement

Jitendra Singh (BJP, Jammu and Kashmir): In Jammu and Kashmir, Jitendra Singh has been BJP's force to reckon with over the last decade. Winning from the seat of Udhampur twice in 2014 and 2019, and bagging the portfolios of Union minister for the Ministry of Science and Technology and Minister of State for Prime Minister's Office; Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, Singh looks to secure a third consecutive victory. In 2014, he had won the seat defeating former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and repeated in it 2019, against Congress's Vikramaditya Singh, both being marked as record victories for the party. He is set to contest against Congress' Chaudhary Lal Singh, an experienced two-time MP from Udhampur and thus promises to be an intriguing battle.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement