Lucknow/ Varanasi, March 4: The electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh is now concentrated in the eastern region of the state as the voting for the 6th phase has begun. The fate of 635 candidates including 63 women will be decided by 1.72 crore voters including 95 lakh male and 78 lakh female voters who will cast their votes in 49 assembly constituencies.
According to latest reports over 23 percent, voters have exercised their franchise in the 6th phase. The voting for the 7th and last phase will be held on March 8 and counting of votes will be held on March 11.
For the 49 seats of Gorakhpur, Balia, Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Devaria, Mhow, and Azamgarh districts, the ruling SP has fielded 40 candidates while its ally Congress is contesting on 10 seats. The BSP is contesting all the 49 seats while the BJP is trying its luck on 45, JDU on 36, and NCP 16.
The assembly seats in this 6th phase include those falling in the parliamentary constituencies of BJP MP Yogi Aditya Nath (Gorakhpur) and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav (Azamgarh). Besides, the mafia leader Mukhtar Ansari (Mhow), and BJP MP Kalraj Mishra’s (Devaria) are other notable areas.
In 2012 assembly elections the SP had pocketed 27 out of 49 seats from this region. However, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had surged ahead in 43 assembly segments. The Congress had won only 4 seats.
The presence of ‘Bahubali’ leaders in this election; cleaning of Tamasa and Ghagra Rivers; Supply of electricity, and preventive steps to check the spread of Encephalitis are the major issues of the election in this region. Every year the region loses 600 lives due to Encephalitis. There was a national program to check this deadly disease but nothing could be done in this regard.
Prime Minister Modi had raised the ussue of presence of ‘Bahubali’ leaders contesting election. The BSP has fielded Mukhtar Ansari from Mhow who is accused of murder of BJP MLA Krishnanda and serving a jail term.
Tamasa and Ghagra are the two important rivers of Azamgarh from where Mulayam Singh Yadav was elected as MP. But people allege that he has not done anything for cleaning these rivers. Similarly, faulty power supply is a major political issue. Yogi Aadityanath has alleged that the SP government was discriminating in supply of electricity.
Among the top contestants Swami Prasad Maurya, who was a close associate of BSP Chief Mayawati is contesting as a BJP candidate from Padrauna in Kushinagar district. Son of a ‘Bahubali’ leader Amar Mani Tripathi, Aman Mani is contesting as independent. The SP had withdrawn his candidature as he was accused of his wife’s murder.
Former cabinet minister and SP leader Ambika Chaudhary is trying his luck as BSP candidate from Fefna while senior Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh is contesting from Rudrapur for the second time. Akhilesh is supposed to be close to Rahul Gandhi.