61% Voting in Yadav Belt & Most of Awadh Region
Although Phase-III covers strongholds of ruling family, BJP expects big gains
claims son Akhilesh would become UP CM again; Rajnath says BJP will secure majority; Maya says BSP will win 300 seats
Lucknow: The crucial Phase-III of UP polls, which included the Yadav belt and most of the Awadh region, registered around 61% voting in 69 assembly seats considered crucial for the BJP. In 2012, the SP had won 55 of these seats, the BSP 6, the BJP 5 and the Congress 2. One seat was won by an Independent.
On Sunday, polling was held at Lucknow Cantt (SP first family’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav is pitted against BJP’s Rita Bahuguna Joshi), Jaswantnagar (Shivpal Yadav’s constituency) and Lucknow’s Sarojini Nagar (SP candidate is Akhilesh’s cousin Anurag). Not just Mulayam Singh Yadav, bothAkhileshandDimpleYadavhad campaigned for Aparna. Akhilesh had also campaigned for Anurag while Mulayam had started his campaign tours with Jaswantnagar.
Phase-III, which has the highest number of big fights, will decide the fate of 826 candidates. It is largely said the party that wins Awadh has a greater chance of forming the government in UP. SP leaders appeared sure of retaining the seats it had won in 2012. The phase covers strongholds of the ruling Yadav family — the Kanpur and Avadh regions. BJP also exuded confidence as the party had worked hard on “non-Yadav OBCs and non-Jatav Dalits”.
Mulayam, after casting his vote in Saifai, said there was no rift in the party and his son Akhilesh would become UP CM again. Dimple and Akhilesh, too, cast their vote in Saifai, the family’s ancestral place. Union home minister Rajnath Singh andhissonPankajvotedinLucknow.
Akhilesh’s cousin Anurag is contesting against Shiv Shankar Singh, alias Shankari Singh of BSP, Swati Singh of BJP and Sharda Pratap Shukla of RLD. Swati is the wife of former state BJP V-P Daya Shankar Singh, who was expelled from the party following his derogatory remarks against BSP chief Mayawati. Prominent BJP faces in this round include UP chief spokesperson Hriday Narayan Dikshit from Bhagwantnagar; Ashutosh Tandon, the son of senior leader Lalji Tandon, from Lucknow East; Kanpur Cantonment’s six-time MLA Satish Mahana; and former lawmaker Brijesh Pathak from Lucknow Central.