In the first phase, 55 constituencies across 10 districts, namely Ambedkar Nagar, Barabanki, Basti, Bahraich, Balrampur, Faizabad, Gonda, Siddharth Nagar, Shravasti and Sitapur, will witness voting. About 925 candidates are in fray for phase I, which will decide the political fate of union steel minister and neo-Congressman Beni Prasad Verma. His son Rakesh Verma is contesting from Dariyabad constituency in home turf of Barabanki.
In the backdrop of Beni’s opposition from a section of Congressmen, which came to fore during electioneering by top party bosses, including Sonia Gandhi, the success in poll results would entrench his stature and silence detractors. However, failure could cost him dearly as state Congress leaders still consider him a rank outsider, since he had been a close ally of Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav and held union cabinet berth as SP member. He joined the Congress after his equation with Yadav soured.
In the first phase, 17 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise for which about 13,000 polling centres would be set up and 19,400 electronic voting machines (EVMs) pressed into service.
Meanwhile, the nomination process for phase 7 voting on March 3 also started on Monday. In this phase, 60 constituencies across 10 districts — Bijnore, Moradabad, Bhimnagar, Rampur, J P Nagar, Badaun, Bareilly, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur and Kheri will go to poll.
About 18 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in phase VII for which about 13,000 polling centres would be set up and 20,000 EVMs pressed into service.
The last date for filing nominations for phase VII voting is February 13, while their scrutiny would be conducted on February 14 and February 16 is the last date for withdrawal of candidature.
UP would witness polling in 7 phases — on February 8, 11, 15, 19, 23, 28 and March 3.