The election to 40 seats in the last phase of polling is of symbolic importance not only to Prime Minister Narendra Modi but also to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and a number of Union ministers.
For Narendra Modi
The focus of the entire election in this particular phase is on Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of the prime minister, who was in his constituency over the last three days to address public meetings and hold jandarshan. In his election meetings, PM had highlighted the development work the NDA government has started in Varanasi during the past three years.
For Akhilesh Yadav
The Samajwadi Party (SP) had won the highest number of this region’s seats, 23 of 40, in 2012. Three ministers of his government are contesting in this phase. Kailash Chaurasiya is contesting from Mirzapur, Shailendra Yadav Lalai from Shahganj and Parasnath Yadav from Malhani. Former minister Om Prakash Singh, who was sacked from the cabinet with Shivpal Singh Yadav, is contesting from Zamania in Ghazipur.
MANOJ SINHA: MP from Ghazipur, Minister of State of Communications (Independent charge) and Railways. The PM has often praised Sinha’s work in railways in Varanasi and adjoining districts.
MAHENDRA NATH PANDEY: Chandauli MP, MoS for HRD. His induction in the cabinet is seen as an effort to attract Brahmin voters in Varanasi, Chandauli, Ghazipur and Jaunpur.
RAJNATH SINGH: Chandauli is his home district. He has addressed public meetings in the district.
ANUPRIYA PATEL: MP from Mirzapur belongs to Apna Dal (Soneylal). She was inducted in the cabinet as Minister of State for Health and Family welfare last year to consolidate the OBC votes in rural constituencies of Varanasi, and adjoining Bhadohi, Mirzapur, Ghazipur and Jaunpur too.
A first Obra and Duddhi are voting for the first time after being reserved for STs.