UP Polls: Last Phase Is Crucial For All Parties

The final and 7th phase of polling to elect a new Uttar Pradesh assembly will be held on Wednesday in 7 eastern districts of the poverty-struck Poorvanchal region.

Varanasi, March 7: The final and 7th phase of polling to elect a new Uttar Pradesh assembly will be held on Wednesday in 7 eastern districts of the poverty-struck Poorvanchal region.

Around 1.41 crore voters are eligible to take part in the polling in the region that includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.

Sonebhadra, Chandauli, Mirzapur, Ghazipur, Bhadohi and Jaunpur are the other districts which will cast their votes.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Bharatiya Janata Party and Narendra Modi himself swept the Poorvanchal region.

Now, it is a responsibility of the ruling Samajwadi Party and CM Akhilesh to retain the 24 of the 40 seats it won in 2012.

Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party, trying hard to recover their power in India’s most populous state, has put in all its might to add to its 2012 tally of 5 seats.

The Indian National Congress, now a Samajwadi Party ally, won 3 seats in 2012 elections, the Quami Ekta Dal one and three independents too made it to the outgoing UUttar Pradesh assembly.

The dominant theme in Poorvanchal is poverty.  In his election campaigns, Prime Minister Modi spoke a lot about unemployment and poverty.

The Bharatiya Janata Party did not win even a single seat in five of the districts in 2012 assembly elections.

The last phase of election is a litmus test for Bharatiya Janata Party stalwarts.

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and now the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh comes from Chandauli.

Mahendranath Pandey, a Member of Parliament, is a member of the Modi government. Ghazipur Parliamentarian Manoj Sinha is Minister of State for Railways.

Apna Dal, a Bharatiya Janata Party ally, leader Anupriya Patel,  has a lot at stake too. Her parliamentary constituency Mirzapur also going to polling booths on Wednesday.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak says the party was confident of doing “exceedingly well” in Poorvanchal region.

“We have achieved beyond our expectations in the last 6 phases. We are sure of getting maximum seats in the final phase also,” Vijay Bahadur Pathak told to News Agency.

The SP expelled most of its powerful Poorvanchal leaders after an internal party feud involving Chief Minister Akhilesh Singh Yadav and his estranged uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav.

Rajendra Chowdhary, aSenior cabinet minister and Akhilesh Yadav aide,  says the region has always stood by the Samajwadi Party.

The Bahujan Samaj Party is banking heavily on the appeal of Mukhtar Ansari and his family. The Poorvanchal region is home to hundreds of thousands of weavers, many of whom are coming from Muslim community.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati speaks of a groundswell in her party’s favor.

“People have tried and tested both Narendra Modi and Akhilesh Yadav and there is nothing but disappointment. Poorvanchal, like other parts of Uttar Pradesh, is looking to the BSP for good governance,” the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh says.

Some areas of Poorvanchal are home to Maoists and some of the candidates have a criminal background. Security has been stepped in Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli.

It is a triangular fight in Mughalsarai, Sakaldeha, Sayyedraza and Chakia seats in Chandauli.

So is the case in Mirzapur, Chunar, Majhwa, Chanbe and Madihan in Mirzapur district.

Sonebhadra – Robertsganj, Ghorawal and Duddhi – will see a close contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party.

Political strongmen who are either in the fray or have fielded family members include Sigbatullah, Vineet Singh and Atul Rai (Bahujan Samaj Party), Dhananjay Singh (Independent), Alka Rai and Sushil Singh (Bharatiya Janata Party), Dinesh Kant (Rashtriya Lok Dal) and Manoj Kumar (SP).

Varanasi has dominated the maximum limelight.

It has 8 assembly constituencies of which the Bharatiya Janta Party won 3.

In all 127 candidates are in the fray in Varanasi. Narendra Modi, Akhilesh Yadav, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Mayawati extensively campaigned in the city.

–With IANS Inputs