Hectic electioneering ended Friday evening for 14 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, including those for which Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Union minister Maneka Gandhi are in the fray.
The constituencies will go to the polls in on Sunday, the sixth phase of voting nationwide.
For the BJP, campaigning peaked on Thursday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed three back-to-back rallies in Azamgarh, Jaunpur and Allahabad. The same day, party president Amit Shah made his presence felt at four other meetings.
The prime minister had also addressed two rallies in Pratapgarh and Basti last Saturday.
The opposition alliance in the state also focused on the Purvanchal region in the last few days. SP’s Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati and Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Ajit Singh held a series of election meetings.
For the Congress, its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi led the campaigning, holding meetings and roadshows in Pratapgarh, Siddharthnagar and Sant Kabirnagar over the last few days.
Polling will be held Sunday in Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkarnagar, Shrawasti, Domariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabirnagar, Lalganj, Jaunpur, Machchlishahr, Bhadohi and Azamgarh constituencies.
The BJP had swept the 2014 polls winning 71 of the total 80 seats in the state, with two others being won by ally Apna Dal (Sonelal). The Congress won two and the SP five.
In Azamgarh this time, Akhilesh Yadav is trying to retain his father’s seat against Bhojpuri film star Dinesh Lal Yadav `Nirahua’ of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Nirahua was honoured by the previous SP government led by Akhilesh Yadav with the state’s Yash Bharti award.
Sultanpur too is seeing an interesting contest. The BJP has fielded Union minister Maneka Gandhi for the seat won by her son Varun Gandhi in 2014.
She faces Sanjay Singh of the Congress.
On Thursday, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra held a roadshow in his support, and against aunt Maneka Gandhi.
Altogether, 177 candidates are contesting in these 14 constituencies, where 2.53 crore people are eligible to vote across 16,998 polling centres.