Sunday, December 4, 2022

Month-long campaign in UP ends, last-phase voting on March 7th


Campaigning for the seventh and final phase of the Uttar Pradesh elections concluded on Saturday, ahead of voting on Monday that will bring the month-long process to a close. All eyes are now trained on March 10, when counting of votes will take place.

Fifty-four assembly constituencies in nine districts will vote on Monday. These include the assembly segments that come under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency of Varanasi and Azamgarh where Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav is the Lok Sabha member.

In 2017, despite a BJP wave in the state, the party had secured the least number of seats in these nine districts among all regions, owing to the politics around multiple backward, most-backward and scheduled castes as well as a significant Muslim population here.

The BJP had won 29 seats in these districts, but with the help of allies SBSP and Apna Dal (S), which have a sway over backward castes like the Rajbhars, Patels (Kurmis) and some sections of the scheduled castes, the alliance had managed a total tally of 36. The SP had won 11 seats and the BSP 6, while the Nishad Party had got one seat in 2017 without allying with any major party. The SBSP that had won three seats to the NDA’s advantage had also mobilised Rajbhar votes in favour of the BJP where its candidates were not fighting. In this election, the SBSP has allied with the SP. Therefore, a factor to watch out for is whether SBSP is able to swing Rajbhar votes in SP’s favour.

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