The part of Uttar Pradesh set to go for Lok Sabha polls in the second phase is the land of Congress icon Jawaharlal Nehru (Allahabad),Samajwadi Partys Ram Manohar Lohia (Phulpur) and Bhartiya Janata Partys Ram Janambhoomi movement (Faizabad/Ayodhya).
In recent years,it is only the Samajwadi Party (SP) which has been able to maintain its hold in its ideological janambhoomi Phulpur and has also extended its influence to Nehrus Allahabad. The BJPs karmabhoomi Ayodhya in the Faizabad Lok Sabha constituency has,however,been snatched away from it by Mayawatis Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Mulayam Singh Yadavs Samajwadi Party wields a considerable influence in the 17 constituencies slated for the second phase of polls. In the 2004 general elections,the party won seven seats and added one more the Ambedkarnagar seat in its tally after by-polls were held there. However,in the last five years,its two sitting MPs Beni Prasad Verma (Kaiserganj) and Atiq Ahmad (Phulpur) were ousted from the party. The challenge before the SP will be to retain its seats from arch rival BSP,which won five seats in the last Lok Sabha elections and later lost one to the SP in the by-election.
The notification for the second phase of the polls for the 17 seats Amethi,Sultanpur,Pratapgarh,Banda,Kaushambi,Phulpur,Allahabad,Faizabad,Ambedkarnagar,Kaiserganj,Shrawasti,Gonda,Dumariaganj,Basti,Santkabirnagar,Jaunpur,Bhadohi was issued on Saturday. The polling will take place in these constituencies on April 23.
What has made this election interesting in this phase is the delimitation. Post delimitation,the boundaries of the constituencies have been redrawn to get new Lok Sabha seats like Bhadohi,Kaushambi,Sant Kabirnagar,Shrawasti.
The influence of dacoits in this area has also waned. But at the same time,the elimination of dreaded bandit Dadua has polarised the Kurmi vote in this area. This phase will also see the re-entry of senior Congress leader Sanjay Singh,who was so far living in oblivion and has been nominated as Congress candidate from Sultanpur.
Keeping up with the recent electoral trend,the fight for the 17 seats in this part of the state will be a direct contest between the SP and the BSP.
The national parties Congress and the BJP have nothing much to lose in this phase.
For the Congress,the most important seat that will be going to polls in this phase is of Amethi from where Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will be contesting. Another important seat is the Dumariaganj from where partys former state chief Jagdambika Pal is trying his luck. Similarly,the BJP has to concentrate on Faizabad from where the partys four-time MLA Lallu Singh is contesting the Lok Sabha polls.