Lucknow, February 9: Campaigning for the first phase of Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh ends today evening. 73 constituencies, in the western part of the state, will go to polls in the first phase on Saturday. Also, Notification was issued for the last and seventh phase of polling for 40 assembly seats of Varanasi, Bhadohi, Mirzapur, Jaunpur, Chandauli and other eastern districts.The first phase will be a litmus test for the BJP, BSP as well as for the SP-Congress alliance. There are 836 candidates in the fray in the first phase of polling in which around 20 percent have criminal cases against them. Senior leaders of all political parties are leaving no stone unturned to attract the voters. The important seats in the phase are Noida, Atrauli in Aligarh, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Mathura and Meerut among others.
Campaigning for the assembly elections has picked up as the contesting parties and their prominent leaders are making all possible efforts to woo the voters. Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is scheduled to begin his election campaign from Jaswantnagar assembly for Brother Shivpal Yadav. In Uttarakhand, BJP national president Amit Shah is scheduled to address rallies in New Tehri, Bageshwar and Karnaprayag.
In Badayu, BSP supremo Mayawati too cornered the Akhilesh government for failing on all fronts including law and order even as Akhilesh himself addressed a rally at Bijnor where he appealed for votes, harping on his government's achievements.
Today is also the last day for withdrawal of nominations for the fourth phase. For the fifth phase, in which 52 Assembly segments will go to polls on the 27th of this month, today is the last date for filing of nominations. The last date for filing of nominations for the seventh phase is the 16th of this month, while the withdrawal of candidature can be done until the 20th.
Meanwhile, notification for the second phase of assembly elections in Manipur will be issued today. 22 constituencies will go to polls in this phase on the 8th of next month. While nominations for this phase will end on 16th of this month, the last date for the withdrawal of nominations will be 20th.