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UP civic polls: Sonia's pocket borough to vote in Gandhis' absentia

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have kept away from electioneering and canvassing for candidates

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

Uttar Pradesh Civil Polls
File photo: Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi with party President Sonia Gandhi

Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituency of president would witness polling on Wednesday in the third and last phase of the ongoing (UP) civic polls.

is fighting these to mostly gauge people’s mood and prepare for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The party's top brass, including Sonia and party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, have kept away from electioneering and canvassing for candidates.

Congress’ electioneering was instead spearheaded by UP chief Raj Babbar. On the other hand, Rahul invested his energies in high octane electioneering for the forthcoming Gujarat polls, where stakes are high for both and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Rahul’s parliamentary constituency of Amethi, apart from Ayodhya-Faizabad and Varanasi, witnessed polling in the crucial first phase. The first two phases were held on November 22 and 26, respectively, with 24 and 25 districts voting.

In this phase, voting would take place across 26 districts, including Rae Bareli, Barabanki, Balrampur, Sitapur, Saharanpur, Baghpat, Bulandshahar, Moradabad, Sambhal, Bareilly, Etah, Firozabad, Kannauj, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Jhansi, Mahoba, Fatehpur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Siddarthnagar, Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Mau, Chanduli, Jaunpur and Mirzapur.

The polling would fill up posts in five municipal corporations, 76 municipal councils and 152 nagar panchayats in this phase and about 9 million electorates are eligible to exercise their franchise.

Firozabad and Saharanpur municipal corporations would witness polling for the first time as these civic bodies were created after the last 2012 civic polls.

Meanwhile, on the last day of electioneering yesterday for the third phase, UP chief minister and ruling star campaigner was on a virtual trailblazer addressing rallies in three districts, including Balrampur, Maharajganj and Kushinagar.

On November 14, Adityanath had kicked off BJP’s election campaign from to underline its importance and the cultural agenda of the ruling party. This was the first time that a serving CM had taken charge of these polls. Earlier, ruling parties were rather shy to fight local polls on party symbols.

From the beginning, had been at the forefront of the UP civic polls, while other major political parties, including (SP), (BSP) and have been low key in electioneering. SP president and BSP chief have also kept away from canvassing.

An estimated 33.2 million voters were eligible to cast votes for 16 municipal corporations, 198 municipal councils and 438 nagar panchayats, which total 652 urban local bodies in UP.

Although has traditionally been strong in urban constituencies, Adityanath is facing the acid test of not only ensuring the victory of party candidates but also bettering poll performance. 

had over the past 15 years been in the opposition, while now it is the ruling outfit.

First Published: Tue, November 28 2017. 18:17 IST