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  India   Politics  19 Feb 2017  All eyes on Uttar Pradesh’s prestige seats in third phase poll

All eyes on Uttar Pradesh’s prestige seats in third phase poll

Published : Feb 19, 2017, 1:22 am IST
Updated : Feb 19, 2017, 4:55 am IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have been leading the saffron brigade’s campaign.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. (Photo: PTI)
 Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: With 69 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh going to polls in the third phase on Sunday, all eyes are on the prestigious constituencies, which include Lucknow, Allahabad, Kannuaj, Mainpuri and Etawah. Though these Assembly berths are traditionally considered to be Samajwadi Party’s strongholds, the BJP had swept the Lok Sabha berths during the last general elections and the party has, since then, managed to consolidate its presence in all these prestigious seats, particularly Lucknow, the home turf of Union home minister Rajnath Singh. Mr Singh is one of the star campaigners of BJP.

In the 2012 Assembly elections, SP had won 55 of these 69 seats, while the BSP, BJP and the Congress had secured just six, five and two respectively. 

Some of the prominent candidates in these Assembly berths are SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav from Jaswant Nagar, former Congress leader and now BJP candidate Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Lucknow Cantt. There have been allegations that Shivpal and his men have been trying to “sabotage” Akhilesh Yadav in this particular region.

Ms Joshi is pitted against Yadav clan’s younger daughter-in-law, Aparna. In the fray is also BSP “turncoat” Brajesh Pathak from Lucknow (Central) fighting on a BJP ticket, Congress leader P.L. Punia’s son Tanuj Punia from Jaidpur seat in Barabanki and SP MP Naresh Agarwal’s son Nitin Agarwal from Hardoi.  Some of the prominent candidates from the eight Assembly berths in Allahabad include Siddharth Nath Singh of BJP from Allahabad (west). He is pitted against the BSP’s Puja Pal. In Allahabad (north), the BJP’s Harshvardhan Vajpayee is pitted against the Congress’ Anugraha Narayan Singh, expected to be a strong contender. 

The SP bastions going to the polls also include Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Kanpur, Unnao, Barabanki and Sitapur. 

Another major battle will be in Etawah, the native place of Mulayam Singh Yadav. Etawah falls under his nephew, Tej Pradav Yadav’s parliamentary constituency, Mainpuri. 

Another prestigious Lok Sabha constituency is Kannauj with five Assembly berths. Akhilesh Yadav’s wife, Dimple Yadav is an MP from Kannauj. 

A total of 826 candidates are in the fray, whose fate will be decided by 2.41 crore voters, including 1.10 crore women and 1,026 belonging to the third gender category. 

In Etawah the maximum number of candidates — 21 — are in the fray, while the minimum number of candidates, just three, are in Haidergarh (Barabanki). Lucknow West and Central have 17 candidates each. Voting will take place in 25,603 polling booths in this phase.

The battle royale will be in Lucknow which has nine Assembly segments. Besides Mr Rajnath Singh, Lucknow had also been the home turf of the BJP’s “tallest leader”, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. 

While the SP is going all out to repeat its 2012 performance, when it had won five of the nine Assembly segments in Lucknow, the too BJP is also trying its best to queer the pitch. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have been leading the saffron brigade’s campaign. Both have repeatedly lashed out at the ruling Samajwadi Party on issues of law and order and corruption in the state. Mr Modi has repeatedly sought to puncture Mr Akhilesh Yadav’s  “kaam bolta hai” slogan by stating it was the SP leader’s “karnama” (misdeeds) which spoke louder.

Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had skipped campaigning in the first two phases, campaigned for his brother in Jaswant Nagar and daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav in Lucknow Cantt.  

Akhilesh Yadav’s wife, Dimple, also campaigned for her sister-in-law. The fourth phase of polling for 53 seats will take place on February 23.

Tags: rajnath singh, uttar pradesh assembly elections, mulayam singh yadav
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi