Curtains fell on an even more animated and high-profile round of electioneering in Uttar Pradesh this evening, as the country’s most populous state is poised to witness on Sunday its fourth phase of the ongoing assembly elections.
Polling will take place on February 19 in as many as 56 constituencies across 11 districts in central UP and Bundelkhand — Hardoi, Unnao, Lucknow, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar, Rae Bareli, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Banda, Chitrakoot, Pratapgarh and Fatehpur. There are 967 candidates in the fray, and about 17.4 million electorates are eligible to cast votes.
The fourth phase would test the fate of several heavyweights, including three state ministers, 32 sitting legislators and 12 former ministers. As for canvassing, this phase witnessed rallies by stalwarts such as former deputy prime minister and senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, besides ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president and chief minister Mayawati. Prominent candidates in the fray include BJP national vice-president Kalraj Mishra and state Congress Committee president Rita Bahuguna Joshi. ‘Gulabi Gang’ leader Sampat Pal, a women empowerment figure, is fighting as Congress nominee from Bundelkhand region.
Mishra, a Rajya Sabha member, is making his debut in electoral politics from Lucknow east seat, while Joshi is contesting from Lucknow cantonment. Union law minister Salman Khurshid’s wife Louis Khurshid is contesting from Farrukhabad Sadar. Congress Legislative Party leader Pramod Tiwari is seeking re-election from his traditional Rampur Khas seat in Pratapgarh. State urban development minister Nakul Dubey is trying his luck from Lucknow’s Bakshi ka Talab constituency, while science and technology minister Abdul Mannan is contesting from Sandila. Senior BJP leader and Lucknow member of Parliament Lalji Tandon’s son Ashutosh Tandon alias Gopalji is making his debut from Lucknow north.
Sitting BSP MLA Nitin Agarwal, who is son of former minister Naresh Agarwal, is seeking election from Hardoi Sadat seat on a Samajwadi Party ticket. Sitting legislator Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya is contesting from Kunda in Pratapgarh. Veer Singh Patel, son of slain bandit Dadua, is contesting from Karvi in Chitrakoot as SP nominee.