It’ll be down to the wire for BJP, SP in second phase of UP polls

New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh will be voting for 55 assembly seats in the second phase of elections on Monday. A total of 586 candidates are in the fray, but the main contest is between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party. However, the BSP is in a position to make the contest triangular at some seats.
In the last assembly elections in 2017, out of the 55 seats going to polls on monday, 38 went to the BJP, 15 to Samajwadi Party (SP) and two seats to the Congress as there was an alliance between SP and the Congress. Muslim candidates won 10 of the 15 seats they contested which all went to the SP.
History shows alliance politics benefited both the SP-Congress alliance in 2017 and BSP-RLD alliance in 2019, but this time with no alliance among the major political parties, political analysts claim that there will be a split of votes which can benifit the BJP.
In the last assembly elections, when SP and Congress won a total of 17 seats, in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019, seven of the 11 seats in this region went to the BSP-SP alliance. Of these, the BSP won four (Saharanpur, Nagina, Bijnor and Amroha), while the SP won three seats in Moradabad, Sambhal and Rampur. The alliance formula of Muslim, Jat and Dalit voters in this region was a total success. The SP this time entered into the electoral fray in alliance with Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Mahan Dal which are believed to have considerable influence over Jat, Shakya, Saini, Kushwaha, Maurya, and Koiri voters.
A total of 2,01,42,441 voters will exercise their franchise in 55 assembly seats of which 1,07,61476 are male voters, while 93,79,704 are female voters and 1,261 voters are the third gender.
In 2017, the highest number of 77.53 per cent votes were cast in Nakud Vidhan Sabha seat. In the 2012 assembly elections too, the same seat had recorded 77.18 per cent voting.
The Election Commission has marked Deoband of Saharanpur, Manihar of Rampur, Sambhal and Asmoli seats of Sambhal, Nagina, Dhampur and Bijnor seats of Bijnor as sensitive. Additional companies of Central Armed Police force will be deployed in these areas. All activities in these areas are strictly monitored by the security forces.
A total of 586 candidates are in the fray for the second phase of elections to be held on Monday on 55 assembly seats in nine districts of Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Amroha, Badaun, Bareilly and Shahjahanpur. Maximum 15 candidates are in the fray in Kanth, Bareilly Cantt and Shahjahanpur. Incidentally, no assembly seat has more than 15 candidates making it easier for the EC to conduct polls as up to 16 candidates can be included in one voting machine.
In the second phase, 8 assembly seats come under the reserved category of which BJP had won 7 in 2017. There are also 8 such seats in this phase on which the BJP in 2017 had won with a thin margin.
The veterans whose prestige is at stake include ministers Suresh Khanna, Gulabo Devi and Baldev Singh Aulakh. From the SP, Azam Khan, former minister Dharampal Singh Saini, Kamal Akhtar and Mehboob Ali’s fate will also be sealed in the voting machine on Monday.
This time Azam Khan is contesting from jail.

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