The campaign for 61 assembly seats across 12 districts of Uttar Pradesh going to the polls during the fifth phase of the state assembly elections ended on Friday evening. The voting for the fifth phase of state assembly elections will be held on February 27. State’s Chief Election Officer Ajay Kumar Shukla said the campaign for the fifth phase ended at 6 pm and all preparations for the voting on Sunday have been completed.
There are a total of 692 candidates are in the fray for the fifth phase of polling and their fate will be decided by 2.24 crore voters. The districts going to the polls on Sunday include Sultanpur, Chitrakoot, Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Prayagraj, Barabaki, Bahraich, Shravasti and Gonda. Amethi and Raebareli, once considered as Congress bastions, Ayodhya, the epicentre of movement for the construction of Lord Ram temple too go to the polls on Sunday.
Prominent among those in the fray for the 5th phase of assembly elections include Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is contesting from the Sirathu assembly seat in the Kaushambi district. He is facing Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) candidate Pallavi Patel. Other ministers who are in the fray are Siddharth Nath Singh from Allahabad West, Rajendra Singh alias Moti Singh from Patti (Pratapgarh), Nand Gopal Gupta Nadi from Allahabad South and Ramapati Shastri from Mankapur (Gonda). Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, who is the MLA from Kunda since 1993, is once again in the fray from his party Jansatta Dal with his old aide Gulshan Yadav pitted against him on a Samajwadi Party ticket.
Union Minister Anupriya Patel's mother and Apna Dal (K) leader Krishna Patel is also contesting from the Pratapgarh seat. Apna Dal (K) has entered into an alliance with the Samajwadi Party. Union Minister Anupriya Patel, heading a rival faction of the party named after her father Sonelal Patel, however, has handed over the seat to the BJP to challenge her mother Krishna Patel. Congress legislative party leader Aradhana Mishra Mona is fighting from Rampur Khas seat of Pratapgarh.
With the completion of the fourth round of polling on February 23, the voting has already been completed for the state's 231 assembly seats out of a total 403. The last three phases of voting will be held on February 27, March 3 and March 7 respectively. As part of the electioneering for the fifth phase of voting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have already crisscrossed various poll-bound constituencies.
BJP rivals Akhilesh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi too have toured various poll-bound constituencies widely, seeking to challenge the saffron party. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had digitally addressed a rally for voters of her Rae Bareli constituency, the first one in the ongoing Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
In the final round of campaigning on Friday, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi addressed a joint rally in Amethi, a citadel of the Gandhi family for long. It was, however, was demolished by the BJP both in the 2017 state polls as well as in the 2019 general elections. Prime Minister Modi addressed a series of rallies in Amethi, Prayagraj, Kaushambi and Bahraich to boost the chance of BJP's victory. Modi attacked opponents mainly on the issues of vote bank politics and ‘pariwarvad’. With a Gujarat court awarding death sentence to 38 accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial terror bombing case, the PM on numerous occasions questioned the silence of opposition parties allegedly in pursuance of vote bank politics.
With PTI Inputs