UP gears up for fourth phase of LS polls in 13 constituencies

  • | Monday | 13th May, 2024

The Election Commission of India has made elaborate arrangements for voting in 13 parliamentary constituencies of Uttar Pradesh going to polls in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections on Monday. Voting will take place in this phase in Shahjahanpur (SC), Kheri, Dhaurahra, Sitapur, Hardoi (SC), Misrikh (SC), Unnao, Farrukhabad, Etawah (SC), Kannauj, Kanpur, Akbarpur and Bahraich (SC) constituencies where the fate of 130 candidates will be decided by 2.46 crore voters — 1.31 crore males and 1.15 females — in 16,334 polling stations having 26,588 polling booths.  Along with the Lok Sabha polls, by-election to Dadraul assembly constituency in Shahjahanpur district will also be held on Monday. There are 10 candidates in the fray and their fate will be sealed by 3.72 lakh voters — 1.99 lakh males and 1.72 lakh females. UP Chief Electoral Officer Navdeep Rinwa said here on Sunday that polling parties had been despatched to their respective booths. He said to ensure free and fair polls and transparency in the polling process, over 50 per cent of the booths would go for webcasting. The 13 constituencies going to polls on Monday are considered politically significant as they fall in the central region of UP. In 2019, Bharatiya Janata Party had swept these constituencies despite the alliance between Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal. This time Congress and SP are contesting the polls together in UP as partners of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). If the BJP faces the challenge of replicating its 2019 performance in this phase, the SPs top concern is to regain the prestigious Kannauj seat. All eyes in this phase of elections will be on the Kannauj from where SP president Akhilesh Yadav is seeking a re-election. Another prominent candidate in the fray in this round is Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni, who is contesting from Kheri. Among the 13 poll-bound constituencies, Kannauj will see a contest between the SP chief and sitting BJP MP Subrat Pathak, while in Unnao, incumbent BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj (Swami Sachidanand Hari Sakshi) is pitted against SPs Annu Tandon (a former Lok Sabha MP from Unnao). Tandon had contested against Sakshi Maharaj as a Congress candidate in 2014 and 2019, but had lost on both occasions. She had won the Unnao Lok Sabha seat in 2009 on a Congress ticket. Of the 13 parliamentary constituencies going to polls in the fourth phase, the BJP has reposed its faith in 11 sitting MPs by giving them tickets, while it has fielded new candidates Ramesh Awasthi from Kanpur and Anand Kumar from the Bahraich (SC) seat. In the INDIA bloc, the SP has fielded candidates from 11 Lok Sabha constituencies in this phase, while two seats -- Kanpur (Alok Misra) and Sitapur (Rakesh Rathor) – have Congress candidates. Four BJP candidates — Union minister Teni (Kheri), Rekha Verma (Dhaurahra), Mukesh Rajput (Farrukhabad) and Devendra Singh alias Bhole (Akbarpur) — are eyeing a hat-trick, while Rajesh Verma is eyeing a fifth term from Sitapur. Ashok Kumar Rawat and Ram Shankar Katheria are eyeing a fourth term from Misrikh (SC) and Etawah (SC) respectively. Sitting MP from Hardoi (SC) Jai Prakash and incumbent from Unnao Sakshi Maharaj are eyeing their sixth terms in the Lok Sabha. Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Sitapur, Unnao, Etawah and Bahraich have a big chunk of Dalit voters. The BSP has never been able to open its account in six of the constituencies — Shahjahanpur, Kheri, Hardoi, Farrukhabad, Kannauj and Kanpur — while the SP has historically struggled to win the Kanpur and Akbarpur seats. Around 28 per cent of the candidates contesting in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections have criminal cases while 41 per cent are crorepatis. Polling will commence at 7 am and conclude at 6 pm. Special arrangements of drinking water, shed, sitting facilities and other things to cope with the heat wave conditions have been made in all the booths.  After a drop in polling percentage in the first three phases of the polls, the Election Commission of India and district authorities stepped up efforts to motivate the voters to cast their vote. Over two lakh security personnel, including around 225 companies of Central forces, have been deployed in this phase.

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