Stage set for first phase of UP Assembly polls

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Voting fingure
Lucknow, Feb 7: Polling for the first phase of the high voltage Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections for 55 seats in 10 districts would be held on Wednesday that will decide the fate of two ministers, 31 MLAs and 15 former ministers.

More than 1.70 lakh electorate would seal the fate of 862 candidates in the polling to be held in Sitapur, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Siddharth Nagar and Basti amidst tight security.

Stakes are high for ruling BSP, Congress, SP and the BJP in the no holds barred fight for the 403 assembly seats.

Wednesday's polling would decide the future of cabinet minister Lalji Verma, minister of state Sangram Singh Verma, 31 sitting MLAs, 15 former ministers and relatives of several MPs including Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma.

It would be a litmus test for Congress leaders including Beni Prasad Verma and National Commission for Scheduled Caste Chairman PL Punia as both of them represent the areas going to the polls.

While Gonda MP Beni's prestige would be at stake not only in seven assembly constituencies of his parliamentary area but also in Barabanki with his son Rakesh Verma contesting from Dariyabad seat there.

Barabanki MP, PL Punia's Dalit card and influence in the area would also be under keen observation in six constituencies of his area

Both Verma, known for his say in Kurmi vote bank and Punia, Dalit face of Congress would have the herculean task of ensuring maximum number of seats for the Congress, which had secured only three of the 55 seats in 2007 assembly polls.

For Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which had secured maximum of 30 seats out of 55 seats in the 2007 assembly polls, it would be a do or die situation as betterment of performance of rivals would botch political prospects of the party, which was mired in controversies due to corruption cases.

PTI

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