Political pundits in Lucknow were found busy on a lazy but speedy afternoon this weekend discussing advantage Akhilesh in Phase three and BSP-BJP’s pushover. But deep down the line, this phase is the shelter for the most revered and noted political stalwarts and personalities.
No one can deny SP’s stronghold in this region and the figures of 2012 do the rest as SP had bagged 55 of these 69 seats, while BSP has got only 6, followed by BJP who got 5 and Congress which secured only 2 respectively. One seat went to an Independent candidate.
In 2012, the SP had swept Mainpuri, Etawah, Auraiya, Barabanki and Kannauj districts, and also cornered six of the eight seats in Hardoi, three of four in Farrukhabad and five of six in Unnao.
In the series of campaigns by all senior leaders from all the parties, we had categorized a set of ways used by the leaders in their respective campaigns –
SP and Akhilesh Yadav –
Akhilesh had tactically tried to skip all the attacks hurled at him and he went a step ahead by beating drums of his development schemes and welfare measures. He even cracked a joke on the opposition by claiming their blood pressure levels to have been shot up by the voting turnarounds of first two phases.
But on the other hand Akhilesh had also considered tackling the strong minority vote base also in this region. Considering Mayawati’s hunger for most of the minority votes Akhilesh attacked her by saying that she could not be trusted and can join hands with BJP again.
This phase includes Etawah, the native place of Akhilesh Yadav and has districts like Mainpuri, where Tej Pratap Yadav is MP and Kannauj which is parliamentary seat of Dimple Yadav.
BSP and Mayawati-
Mayawati’s is well aware of the fact this region is the most crucial part of her road to success and she wants to double the digits in this SP’s stronghold in order to remain in the fight. She had tried to clarify over Akhilesh allegations in almost all her speeches and said that she will prefer to sit in opposition rather than joining hands with BJP.
She also stroked to her refrain on deterioration in law and order and plight of women who felt insecure in Akhilesh’s governance.
Congress- Rahul followed By Priyanka and others
Rahul Gandhi spearheaded the campaign trail in this region followed by Ghulam Nabi Azad and other senior leaders at multiple locations. He had categorically slammed Modi for his note ban decision and accused him of betraying people with his ‘achchey din’ promise.
Congress got another upper hand when Priyanka Gandhi came up for campaigns in this region and addressed her first public meeting at RaeBarelli on Friday this week. She was welcomed by a mammoth crowd where she attacked Modi terming his an outsider. She slammed Modi for making a mockery of governance. Congress has little to add to the alliance’s tally as it had won only one seat in the 2012 elections in this whole region.
Netaji’s half way –
SP patron and former party President Mulayam Singh Yadav also appeared in the campaigns for this phase. He had preferred to skip campaigning in the first two phases buthe made his special appreance in campaigns of brother Shivpal and daughter in law Aparna Yadav. But he kept himself away from campaigning for any other candidate in this region.
A close aide of Mulayam Singh Yadav told WFN on conditions of anonymity – “Netaji is not happy with the latest series of events in the party and the state. He is perturbed over the decision of SP forming a coalition with Congress. He might stay away from anymore campaigns”
BJP’s hope for hope –
“We are mounting a serious challenge in the Samajwadi Party stronghold of central Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls on Sunday” said Shalabh Mani Tripathi spokesperson BJP
Demonetization is another dragon which has deeply swallowed BJP’s hope in this phase and most of the farmers had shifted loyalties. Reason being demonetization which was announced at the peak of potato sowing season and now due to severe cash crunch, there are no buyers for the stock of farmers.
Most of the middle class and lower level farmers in this region feel that this move was meant to cause hardships and disruption to the rural population.
Considering this demonetization as the biggest issue, this had become a feisty challenge put up by Akhilesh Yadav towards PM Modi who is trying to overcome this setback by series of rallies and scattering his charisma in the region.
The long List-
Aparna Yadav stands as the foremost high profile candidate in this phase but the list of big-wigs of this region also has names of Shivpal Yadav who is contesting from his stronghold seat of Jaswant Nagar and Nitin Agrawal who is son of SP leader Naresh Agrawal. Arvind Singh Gop who served as cabinet minister is also contesting from RamNagar seat while Hazi Irfan Solanki and Fareed Kidwai are contesting from Shishamau and Kursi seats respectively.
Akhilesh’s close aide Dr Abhishek Mishra who served as Minister for skill development also is contesting from Lucknow North seat.
Tanuj Punia, son of Congress leader P L Punia is also contesting from Jaidpur seat of Barabanki.
BJP has preferred some turncoats like Brajesh Pathak who came from BSP to contest from Lucknow central seat and Rita Bahuguna Joshi who ditched Congress to contest at Lucknow cannt against Aparna Yadav of SP. Among other big names there is Hriday Narayan Dikshit who is contesting from BhagwantNagar and Ashutosh Tandon who is contesting from Lucknow east seat followed by Satish Mahana who is contesting from Maharajpur.