Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh): As the seventh phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections is slated to take place on Monday, the major districts which are likely to face a fierce competition between Bharatiya Janata Party and Samajwadi Party include Azamgarh, Varanasi, and Mirzapur divisions.
As many as 613 candidates are in the fray for 54 constituencies spread across nine districts of Mau, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Chandauli, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, and Bhadohi (Sant Ravidas Nagar). BJP is hoping to retain its dominance in the state while the SP not only aspires to hold Azamgarh but also trying to defeat the ruling party by putting its focus on wooing young voters on the issue of employment.
Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency will be at stake tomorrow as he is the single biggest influencer in the country since the 2014 elections. It comprises Pindra, Ajagara, Shivpur, Rohaniya, Varanasi North, Varanasi South, Varanasi Cantt, and Sevapuri Assembly seats.
There are a total of 8 seats in Varanasi, out of which the BJP holds a strong position on 6 out of them. However, this does not seem to be the case with the remaining two seats. One is Varanasi South on which BJP’s Culture Minister Neelkanth Tiwari is contesting against Samajwadi Party’s Kishan Dixit, head priest of Mrityunjay Mahadev. Another is Varanasi Cantt where the BJP has fielded Saurabh Srivastava opposite SP’s Pooja Yadav.
PM Modi even camped in Varanasi for two days and interacted with shopkeepers there. On the same day, he also had a brief stopover at a tea stall in Varanasi after holding a roadshow that attracted a huge crowd. He also tried his hand at ‘damru (drum)’ at Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, where he also offered prayers.
In the run-up to the elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav also addressed rallies in the BJP’s strong turf in Varanasi.
In Shivpur, another minister and the BJP candidate Anil Rajbhar is contesting the polls against SP’s Arvind Rajbhar. Arvind is the son of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party chief Omprakash Rajbhar. The seat has a sizable caste population belonging to Brahmin, Vaishya, Kshatriya, Rajbhar, Patel, Maurya, Yadav, Scheduled Caste, among others.
From the Sevapuri Assembly constituency, Nilratna Patel and Surendra Patel are giving neck-to-neck fights to each other. Neelratna Patel is contesting from the BJP and Surendra Patel is the SP nominee. Surendra Patel has a stronghold over the region. However, Neelratna Patel had won the 2017 polls.
Samajwadi Party and the BJP seem to be engaged in a neck-to-neck contest on most of the seats in the district but in the Pindra constituency, Congress’ Ajay Rai is giving a tough fight.
The BJP has fielded Awadhesh Singh from the Pindra seat.
The seventh and final phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections 2022 would see polling in Azamgarh, which has been a traditional stronghold of Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP).
Azamgarh comprises 10 Vidhan Sabha (legislative assembly) segments. These are Gopalpur, Sagri, Mubarakpur, Azamgarh, Mehnagar, Atrauliya, Nizamabad, Phoolpur Pawai, Didarganj, and Lalganj.
Former minister Dara Singh Chauhan, who had joined Samajwadi Party after leaving BJP, is in the fray from the Ghosi seat of the Mau district. On Mau Sadar’s seat, don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s son Abbas Ansari is contesting on the SP ticket. In Shahganj in the Jaunpur district, the Samajwadi Party has fielded sitting MLA Shailendra Yadav Lalai.
Alka Rai, the sitting legislator and wife of the former BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, is in the fray from Mohammadabad seat of Ghazipur district. Former BJP MP Krishna Pratap Singh is contesting on the Malhni seat of Jaunpur. Lucky Yadav is a Samajwadi Party candidate from the seat.
A total of 613 candidates are in the electoral fray for the last phase of Uttar Pradesh. The voting will begin at 7:00 am and will conclude at 6:00 pm tomorrow.
The month-long campaigning for the seven-phase state polls came to an on the evening of March 5.
The counting of votes will take place on March 10.