Lucknow, Feb 19: Even as the campaigning for the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh election is in full steam, the 2.41 began exercising their franchise in 12 districts of the state that went to the polls in the third phase of the seven-phase poll schedule.
Out of the 2.41 crore voters, 54 percent have exercised their franchise up to 3 pm. Voters are standing in line to cast their votes.
A total of 826 candidates contesting from 69 assembly segments in 12 districts of Farrukabad, Hardoi, Kannauj, Mainpuri, Itava, Oraiya, Kanpur Rural, Kanpur, Unnav, Lucknow, Barabanki and Sitapur. Among them, 105 are women candidates.
This area is considered as the stronghold of the Samajwadi Party (SP). In 2012 the SP had bagged 55 out of 69 seats. In 2012 the SP had won all the seats in five districts. However, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP registered its lead in as many as 52 assembly segments. Out of 13 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP had won ten seats.
Though the main contest is between the ruling SP and BJP, the BSP too is in the fray with a maximum number of 69 candidates followed by the 68 (BJP), 61 (SP), 40 (RLD), 14 (Congress), 6 (CPI), 3 (NCP), 334 (Others) and 231 (Independents).
In 2012, besides SP, the BSP had won 6, followed by the BJP 5, and the Congress 2. The configuration of voters in these constituencies is a mixed one with the Brahmins, Thakur and other castes comprising 59 percent, minorities 16 percent and Dalits 25 percent.
Amongst the prominent candidates is Shivpal Yadav (SP), uncle of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and PWD Minister in his cabinet. He is contesting from Jaswantnagar. SP Supremo Mulayam Singh’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav is contesting from Lucknow Cantt.
Former Congress heavyweight and now a prominent BJP face Rita Bahuguna is contesting from Lucknow Cantt against Aparna Yadav. Tanuj Punia, son of former PCC Chief P L Punia is contesting from Jaidpur in Barabanki district.