The sixth phase of election in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday will seal the fate of political heavyweights like SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, Union minister Maneka Gandhi, state cabinet minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi among others.
The 14 seats, all in eastern Uttar Pradesh, are Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Shrawasti, Domariyaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr and Bhadohi.
In 2014, out of the 14, the BJP had won 12, while its ally Apna Dal and the Samajwadi Party (SP) had won one seat each – Pratapgarh and Azamgarh, respectively. Out of the 14 seats, the BSP is contesting 11, while the SP is contesting 3 on behalf of the gathbandhan.
This phase is also very crucial for the Congress because Priyanka Gandhi is making her electoral debut as in-charge of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. In 2009, the Congress had won Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Shrawasti and Domariyaganj.
Among the high-profile seats going to polls in the sixth phase is Azamgarh, where SP president Akhilesh Yadav is up against BJP candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav “Nirauha”, who is contesting an election for the first time. In the 2009 polls, BJP’s Ramakant Yadav had won the seat. In second and third were BSP’s Akbar Ahmad Dumpy and SP’s Durga Prasad Yadav.
In the 2014 polls, the seat was won by SP founder and Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav. The veteran leader had managed to get 3,40,306 (35.4%) votes, while the BJP’s Rama Kant Yadav had got 2,77,102 (28.85%). BSP’s Shah Alam had managed to come a close third with 2,66,528 (27.75%).
In Sultanpur, Union minister and Priyanka’s aunt Maneka Gandhi for the BJP is up against Congress’s former MP Sanjay Singh and SP-BSP alliance’s Chandra Bhadra Singh “Sonu”. In the 2014 polls, Maneka’s son Varun Gandhi had won the seat with 4,10,348 votes (42.5%), while BSP’s Pawan Pandey had stood second with 2,31,446 votes (3.98%) and SP’s Shakeel Ahmed had come third with 2,28,144 votes (23.63%). In 2009, the seat was won by Congress’s Sanjay Singh with 3,00,411 votes (42.4%), while the BSP’s Mohd Tahir had stood second with 2,01,632 votes (28.48%) and the SP’s Ashok Pandey had stood third with 1,07,895 votes (15.24%).
In Allahabad, SP has fielded Rajendra Patel, while the BJP will be represented by state cabinet minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi, and the Congress by Yogesh Shukla. In 2014, Allahabad was won by BJP’s Shyama Charan Gupta who had secured 3,13,772 votes (42.4%), while SP’s Kunwar Rewati Raman Singh had come second with 2,51,763 votes (28.2%) and Keshri Dev Patel of the BSP had come third with 1,62,073 votes (18.18%). In 2009, SP’s Kunwar Rewati Raman Singh had won the seat with 2,09,431 votes (38%), while the BSP’s Ashok Kumar Bajpai had stood second with 1,74,511 votes (31.7%). BJP’s Yogesh Pathak had come third with 60,983 votes (11%).
In Ambedkar Nagar, a BSP stronghold, the party has fielded the son of former MP Ritesh Pandey who will take on BJP’s Mukut Bihari Verma in a two-way battle. The seat was won by BJP’s Hari Om Pandey in 2014. He has, however, not been fielded this time.
In Sant Kabir Nagar, BJP has fielded Praveen Nishad who won the Gorakhpur bypoll on an SP ticket last year. He recently switched over to the BJP. While BSP has fielded former MP from the seat, Bhishma Shankar “Kushal Tewari”, the Congress will be represented by two-time MP from the seat Bhalchandra Yadav. Several factors, including the incident when BJP MP Sharad Tripathi rained blows with his shoes on Menhdawal MLA from his party, Rakesh Singh Baghel are at play in this election.
In Pratapgarh, the BJP has fielded Sangam Lal Gupta of the Apna Dal, while the BSP has fielded Ashok Kumar Tripathi, and the Congress will be represented by former MP Ratna Singh.
In Phulpur, the SP, which had won in a bypoll last year, has fielded Pandhari Yadav, while the BJP has fielded Keshari Devi Patel and the Congres has fielded Pankaj Patel.
In Shrawasti, the BJP has fielded sitting MP Daddan Mishra, while Ram Shiromani Mishra has been fielded by the BSP.
The Congress has fielded Dhirendra Pratap Singh from here.
In Domariyaganj, the BJP will be represented by sitting MP Jagdambika Pal, who is seeking his third consecutive term, while the Congress has fielded Dr Chandresh Upadhyay. Aftab Alam is the alliance’s candidate who is contesting on a BSP ticket.
In Basti, the BJP has fielded sitting MP Harish Dwivedi, who will take on Congress’s Raj Kishor Singh and BSP’s Ram Prasad Choudhary.
In Lalganj, the BJP has given a ticket to Neelam Sonkar while the BSP has fielded Sangeeta Azad and the Congress candidate here is Pankaj Mohan Sonkar.
In Jaunpur, the BJP has given a ticket to sitting MP Krishna Pratap Singh, while the BSP has fielded Shyam Singh Yadav, and the Congress candidate is Devvrata Mishra.
In Machhlishahr, BJP has opted for former BSP leader VP Saroj, who joined the BJP recently. Saroj is up against BSP’s Tribhuvan Ram and Amarnath Paswan of the Jan Adhikar party (JAP) which is in alliance with the Congress.
In Bhadoi, the BJP has fielded Rameshchand Bind, while the BSP has given a ticket to Rangnath Mishra and the Congress candidate here is Ramakant Yadav.