The general election to the lower house Lok Sabha is to be held from 7 April to 12 May in nine phases. The polls are going to form the 16th Lok Sabha. Though some of the parties are yet to annouce their candidates, here are 10 key contestants for the Lok Sabha election.
Sonia Gandhi: Congress president and Chairperson of UPA, Sonia Gandhi is to contest from Rae Bareli. In 1999, she was also elected to Lok Sabha from Bellary in Karnataka. Sonia is a three-term successive MP from Rae Bareli since 2004. Her mother-in-law Indira Gandi was also elected from the same seat to Lok Sabha for three times.
Narendra Modi: Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is to contest from Varanasi, the spiritual city of India. He is also likely to contest from a second seat in his home state, most probably from Ahmedabad. Another senior leader of BJP, Murli Manohar Joshi, vacated the Varanasi seat for Modi this time. Joshi is to contest from Kanpur seat against the Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal
Rahul Gandi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is to constest from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh again. He contested from the seat successively since 2004 and this would be the third time he is contesting from the constituency.
Sushma Swaraj: The Opposition Leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj is to contest from Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh. She got elected from the same seat to the present Lok Sabha. Though she contested from the Bellary seat unsuccessfully in 1999 against Sonia Gandhi, she earned great popularity in Karnataka.
Medha Patkar: Better known for her "Narmada Bachao Andolan' movement, Medha Patkar, a social activist, is to contest from Mumbai North East constituency on a ticket from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). She is pitted against candidates of NCP and Shiv Sena-BJP in the financial capital of India.
Mohammed Kaif: Former cricketer Mohammed Kaif will contest from Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh on a Congress ticket. Late prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had won the seat three times. The Lok Sabha seat had been a baston of Samajwadi Party from 1996 till 2009. However, in the 2009 polls, Bahujan Samaj Party won the seat. This time, the cricketer's popularity will be put to the test in the election.
Nandan Nilekani: Former Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Nandan Nilekani, expected to be the dark horse of Congress, has been very keen to win from Bangalore South constituency. He is to face the BJP's HN Anantha Kumar, a former Union minister and a five-time MP.
Arun Jaitley: For the first time, BJP senior leader Arun Jaitley is constesting the Lok Sabha election. He is getting into the poll fray from Amritsar constituency in Punjab, which has sent Navjot Singh Siddu to the Lok Sabha since 2004. Jaitley has been a familiar face on TV as the BJP spokesperson.
Shatrughan Sinha: Popular yesteryear actor Shatrughan Sinha is to re-contest from Patna Sahib constituency in Bihar. He was elected from the same seat in 2009. He was a Union Cabinet Minister of Health and Family Welfare from January 2003 to May 2004.
Rajnath Singh: BJP president Rajnath Singh is contesting from the Lucknow seat. The constituency was a fortess to former Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee from 1991 to 2004. Last time, Rajnath had won from the Ghaziabad constituency.