shashi tharoor

Phase 3 of India’s 7 phase elections will be held April 23. Congress party luminary Shashi Tharoor (pictured) is contesting from Thiruvananthapuram. (Shashi Tharoor photo via twitter)

NEW DELHI — Here are the key constituencies going to the polls in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections April 23:

Wayanad (Kerala)

Key candidates: Rahul Gandhi (Congress), P.P. Suneer (CPI), Thushar Vellappally (NDA)

Key factors and issues: Gandhi's entry has ramped up interest in the seat, making it among the most watched battles of 2019. Votes polled by each candidate will be keenly watched.

Gandhinagar (Gujarat)

Key candidates: Amit Shah (BJP), C.J. Chavda (Congress)

Key issues and factors: Gandhinagar is a BJP bastion. Chavda is a MLA from Gandhinagar-North. Shah contesting from the seat has raised interest in the outcome. The BJP would like to win the seat with a good margin.

Rampur (Uttar Pradesh)

Key candidates: Azam Khan (Samajwadi Party), Jaya Prada (BJP), Sanjay Kapoor (Congress)

Key issues and factors: A high-profile contest between present and former leaders of the Samajwadi Party. Local loyalities, caste equations.

Firozabad (Uttar Pradesh)

Key candidates: Akshay Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Shivpal Singh Yadav (Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia), Chandra Sen Jadun (BJP)

Key issues and factor: A prestige battle between an estranged uncle (Shivpal) and nephew (Akshay), who is the sitting MP. Development, individual and caste loyalties.

Manipuri (Uttar Pradesh)

Key candidates: Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Prem Singh Shakya (BJP)

Key issues and factors: A Yadav family borough, Mainpuri has never been won by the BJP. BSP support has further boosted Mulayam Singh's prospects.

Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh)

Key candidates: Varun Gandhi (BJP), Hemraj Verma (Samajwadi Party)

Key issues and factors: Varun Gandhi and his mother Maneka Gandhi have won the seat seven times. Development, problems of farmers, caste equations, outsider versus local pitch.

Malda North (West Bengal)

Key candidates: Mausam Benazir Noor (Trinamool Congress), Isha Khan Chowdhry (Congress), Khagen Murmu (BJP)

Key issues and factors: Legacy of eight-time Congress MP from Malda ABA Ghani Khan Choudhury. Congress is branding Noor, who switched to Trinamool Congress, a traitor.

Puri (Odisha)

Key candidates: Pinaki Mishra (BJD), Sambit Patra (BJP), Satya Prakash Nayak (Congress)

Key issues and factors: Puri will witness a triangular fight between spokespersons of three major political parties. Major pilgrimage centre of Hindus.

Madha (Maharashtra)

Key candidates: Ranjitsinh Naik-Nimbalkar (BJP), Sanjay Shinde (NCP)

Key issues and factors: NCP supremo Sharad Pawar was expected to contest from here but later announced that he was not contesting from the seat. It is a NCP stronghold where some loyalities have shifted to the BJP.

Baramati (Maharashtra)

Key candidates: Supriya Sule (NCP), Kanchan Kul (BJP)

Key issues and factors: The seat is a NCP bastion and Sule is seeking re-relection. The constituency is a mix of urban and rural areas.

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala)

Key candidates: Shashi Tharoor (Congress), Kummanam Rajasekharan (BJP), C. Divarkaran (LDF)

Key issues and factors: BJP sees a good prospect of winning the seat it lost narrowly in 2014. Tharoor won the seat in 2009 and 2014. Individual and caste loyalties may play a role.

Gulbarga (Karnataka)

Key candidates: Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Umesh Jadhav (BJP)

Key issues and factors: Kharge was the leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha and is one of its prominent southern faces. He has brought development to the constituency but some local Congress leaders have turned against him.

Madhepura (Bihar)

Key candidates: Pappu Yadav (Jan Adhikar Party), Sharad Yadav (RJD), Dinesh Chandra Yadav (Janata Dal-United),

Key issues and factors: The result will decide the political future of Sharad Yadav, who broke away from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after the latter returned to the NDA. Caste equations and issues like flood devastation and farm prices.

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