The next phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh would be the real test of “Modi wave”. In the 2009 parliamentary elections, the party faced defeat in all 15 seats that votes on May 7.
Congress had then bagged five seats — Amethi, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Faizabad, Bahraich, Shrawasti and Gonda. BSP, too, won five — Phulpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Bhadohi while Samajwadi Party won three (Kaushambi, Allahabad and Kaiserganj).
BSP was runner-up on nine seats followed by SP that was at second place on five seats. BJP was runner-up at only one seat— Sant Kabir Nagar — where the party had fielded Sharad Tripathi, son of former party state president Ramapati Ram Tripathi. Sharad is contesting from the same seat this time as well.
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On other seats, BJP candidates stood third at seven seats, fourth on four, and fifth on three seats. The party’s vote percentage was below 10 per cent on most seats.
This time, BJP general secretary Varun Gandhi, who won Pilibhit in 2009, has given hope to the party by moving to Sultanpur where his key opponent is Congress’s Ameeta Singh, wife of Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Sinh. BSP has fielded Pawan Pandey here.
BJP is also banking on Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is contesting from Kaiserganj, after switching over from the Samajwadi Party. SP has fielded minister Vinod Singh alias Pandit Singh against him.
Then the party has chosen to field TV actor and Rajya Sabha member Smriti Irani against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. While local BJP party leaders are enthused with Irani, Modi, will campaign for her in the seat on May 5. The BJP candidate here had got only 5.81 per cent of the total polled votes in 2009.
Against Union Minister and Congress candidate Beni Prasad Verma, BJP has fielded Kirtivardhan Singh who had contested from the same seat in 2009 election as BSP candidate and was a runner-up.
In Shrawasti, BJP’s Daddan Mishra is said to be tough opponent for SP’s Atiq Ahmad and BSP’s Lalji Verma.
In Faizabad, BJP has repeated Lallu Singh who had lost in 2009 and was also defeated in the Assembly election from Ayodhya in 2012. Congress state president Nirmal Khatri, who is the sitting MP, is contesting again while BSP has fielded Jitendra Singh Babloo. SP has given ticket to local MLA Mitrasen Yadav.
Former BSP minister Nand Gopal Gupta “Nandi” is Congress candidate in Allahabad who is contesting against BJP’s Shyama Charan Gupta and SP’s sitting MP Rewati Raman Singh.
BJP has given Pratapgarh seat to Apna Dal which has fielded Kunwar Harivansh Singh against sitting MP and Congress’ Rajkumari Ratna Singh. BJP is banking on support of backward castes to Apna Dal in eastern UP.