Cassian Baliarsingh

The second phase of polling for 2024 Lok Sabha election began this morning.  A total of 1210 candidates are in the fray vying for victory across 88 seats in 13 states. Polling will conclude in Kerala, Rajasthan and Tripura in this phase.

Today’s voting will see some of the most closely watched contests as some high profile names including Rahul Gandhi, Hema Malini, Tejasvi Surya, Rajeev Chandrashekhar and Shashi Tharoor are seeking seats.

Let’s take a look at 10 heavyweight candidates whose fate will be sealed by voters today:

Rahul Gandhi (Wayanad, Kerala): The Congress heavyweight is seeking a re-election and is pitted against CPI’s Annie Raja and BJP’s K Surendran. The most prominent face of Congress, Rahul Gandhi is trying to defend his MP seat which he had won by a substantial margin of more than 700,000 votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha Election.

Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram, Congress): The three-time MP from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram is seeking a fourth term pitted against BJP’s Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar who is contesting his maiden Lok Sabha election. Considered the political nerve centre of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram will see clash between Tharoor, Rajeev and CPI’s Panniyan Raveendran.

Hema Malini (Mathura, UP): The veteran actress and dream girl of Bollywood, Hema Malini has been representing Mathura since 2014 Lok Sabha election. She is seeking a third term and is pitted against Congress leader Mukesh Dhangar and BSP’s Suresh Singh. A self-proclaimed devotee of Lord Krishna, Hema Malini wants to serve the people of Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

Lok Sabha Election 2024 Phase 2 Voting LIVE Updates

Rajeev Chandrashekhar (Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala): The BJP candidate is making his maiden Lok Sabha contest, all set to take on Congress heavyweight Shashi Tharoor. Currently, he is a Rajya Sabha Member and MoS for Information Technology and Skill Development.

Arun Govil (Meerut, UP): BJP has fielded actor Arun Govil, popularly known for portrayal of Lord Ram in the 1987 adaptation of ‘Ramayana’ by Ramanand Sagar, for Meerut Lok Sabha seat owing to his popularity among the masses.

Tejasvi Surya (Bangalore South): BJP’s youngest face in the Lok Sabha, Tejasvi Surya is re-contesting from Bangalore South, the seat that he had won in his maiden election by defeating BK Hariprasad of the Congress. He has become a strong face of the BJP in Bangalore and will face a challenge from Congress’ Sowmya Reddy.

Bhupesh Baghel (Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh): The former chief minister of Chhattisgarh is trying his luck with the national elections after losing power in the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls last year. With a strong BJP hold in the constituency, Baghel has a huge challenge ahead facing the incumbent BJP MP Santosh Pandey.

Om Birla (Kota, Rajasthan): The Lok Sabha speaker is seeking his third term from Rajasthan’s Kota. He is facing a stiff challenge from Congress’ candidate Prahlad Gunjal.

Navneet Rana (Amaravati, Maharashtra): Navneet who had won the 2019 poll as independent candidate has now joined BJP. She will be facing Congress candidate Balwant Wankhede.

HD Kumaraswamy (Mandya, Karnataka): The former CM of Karnataka and JDS state unit president will face Congress nominee Venkataramane Gowda, a businessman who is making his poll debut. In the 2019 election, independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh had won the seat against Kumaraswamy’s son and actor Nikhil.