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Among the biggest contenders in the Lok Sabha elections 2019 were some former chief ministers.
A former chief minister as a contender makes the constituency extremely important for the party to which the leader belongs. Not only does it become a prestige battle for the party and the former CM, the outcome also indicates the shift in voters’ sentiments.
Among the former CMs whose fate has been been decided in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are former Jammu & Kashmir CMs Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, former Uttar Pradesh CMs Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, and former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh. There former CMs were in the fray from Jharkhand. In Karnataka, there was HD Deve Gowda of JD(S), who is also a former Prime Minister.
All of them are either current or former parliamentarians. Unless there is a major shift in voters’ loyalties, all these former CMs are expected to win the elections from the seats they are contesting.
Here is a look at some of the former CMs, their seats and the contenders:
JAMMU & KASHMIR
Srinagar – Farooq Abdullah of National Conference versus BJP’s Khalid Jahangir versus Aga Syed Mohsin of PDP
Abdullah is a three-time CM of J-K. He is the current Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar and has been elected to Parliament on two previous occasions from the same seat. Srinagar is an NC bastion and it is most likely that Abdullah will win comfortably from here.
Abdullah’s winning chances: Very strong
Anantnag – PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti versus Congress’ Ghulam Ahmad Mir versus NC’s Hasnain Masoodi
Anantnag was the only constituency where polling was held in three phases of the Lok Sabha elections. Mufti, who was till recently the CM of J-K, won this seat in 2014 but vacated it in 2016 after she became the CM. The seat has remained vacant since as elections could not be held due to security reasons. Anantnag has voted alternately for NC and PDP. Polling took place in the shadow of a boycott call by separatists, and the turnout in the constituency was dismal.
Mufti’s winning chances: Strong
Mainpuri – Mulayam Singh Yadav of SP (Coalition) versus Prem Singh Shakya of BJP
Three-time CM of UP, Mulayam Singh Yadav contested from Mainpuri instead of Azamgarh. (Both are SP bastions anyway.) His party contested the elections in an alliance with BSP and RLD. The Congress did not field a candidate.
Mulayam’s winning chances: Very strong
Azamgarh – Akhilesh Yadav of SP (Coalition) versus Dinesh Lal Yadav aka Nirahua of BJP
Azamgarh has historically voted a Yadav to Parliament. The seat oscillated between BSP and SP since 1996. Former CM Akhilesh Yadav is contesting from this seat for the first time. He is up against Bhojpuri actor-turned-politician Dinesh Lal Yadav.
Akhilesh’s winning chances: Strong
Bhopal – Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur of BJP versus Digvijaya Singh of Congress
Digvijaya Singh is a former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and has also been a Parliamentarian. Singh contested from Bhopal for the first time. He is up against Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. Bhopal has historically voted for the BJP. It is to be seen if Singh can beat the BJP candidate on a seat the saffron party has not lost since 1989. Such was the prestige issue that Singh did not leave the constituency to cast his vote in Rajgarh district on the day of polling on 12 May.
Digvijaya Singh’s winning chances: Weak
Sonipat – BJP’s Ramesh Chandra Kaushik versus Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Congress versus Digvijay Singh Chautala of JJP (AAP ally)
Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the former CM of Haryana, is a four-time MP. He is up against Digvijay Singh Chautala, the grandson of former CM Om Prakash Chautala, and sitting MP Ramesh Chandra Kaushik. Sonipat has voted for Congress or BJP since 1998.
Hooda’s winning chances: Strong
Haridwar – BJP’s Ramesh Pokhriyal (Nishank) versus Congress’ Ambrish Kumar
Sitting MP and former CM Ramesh Pokhriyal is eyeing a second-term from this seat. He won it in 2014 with over 50 per cent of votes cast in his favour.
Ramesh Pokhriyal’s winning chances: Very strong
Khunti – BJP’s Arjun Munda versus Kalicharna Munda of Alliance
Arjun Munda, a three-time former Chief Minister, was BJP’s candidate against the Congress candidate from alliance of INC, JMM, JVM, RJD and others. Munda was fielded in place of Deputy Lok Sabha speaker and outgoing MP from the seat, Karia Munda.
Arjun Munda’s winning chances: Very strong
Koderma – Babulal Marandi of Alliance versus Annapurna Devi Yadav of BJP
Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajantraik (JVM-P) was the first CM of Jharkhand after the state was created in November 2000. A former BJP leader, he was the MP from Koderma from 2004-14. He is up against Annapurna Devi, who defected to the BJP from RJD days ahead of the elections.
Babulal Marandi’s winning chances: Weak
Dumka – Shibu Soren of Alliance versus Sunil Soren of BJP
Shibu Soren, the seven-time Lok Sabha MP, is the tallest leader to have emerged from Jharkhand. A three-timed CM of Jharkhand, Soren is the sitting MP from Dumka.
Shibu Soren’s winning chances: Very strong
Tumkur – HD Deve Gowda of JD(S) versus BJP’s GS Basavaraj
Deve Gowda, the chief of JD(S), was elected to Parliament in 2014 from Hassan. This time he took on former MP Basavaraj in Tumkur. He is the only former CM in this contest who has also served as the Prime Minister of India. Tumkur has mostly voted for BJP since 1991. The seat was won by SP Muddahanumegowda of Congress in 2014 but fell in JD(S) kitty after the two parties forged an alliance.
Deve Gowda’s winning chances: Strong
North East Delhi – BJP’s Manoj Tiwari versus Sheila Dikshit of Congress versus Dilip Pandey of AAP
The three-corner contest in North East Delhi is interesting because of the presence of two heavyweights – Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit. The Congress leader has been a three-time CM of Delhi and among the longest reigning CMs of the country. Tiwari is the sitting MP from North East Delhi.
Sheila Dikshit’s winning chances: Weak