UP gears up for third phase of polling

Voting finger
Lucknow, Feb 14: Polling for the third phase of UP Assembly elections for 56 seats in 10 districts would be held on Wednesday that will decide the fate of three cabinet minister, a minister of state, 29 sitting MLAs and 14 former ministers.

More than 1.75 crore voters are expected to cast their votes to seal the fate of 1018 candidates in the polling to be held in CSM Nagar, Sultanpur, Kaushambi, Allahabad, Jaunpur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra 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.

In this phase, at least 121 candidates with criminal background and as many as 48 'crorepatis' are in the fray.

The third phase would seal the fate of cabinet ministers Indrajit Saroj - Manjhanpur, Nand Gopal Gupta alias Nandi - Allahabad South and Dharmaraj Nishad - Shahganj and minister of state Vinod Singh - Lambhua, besides 29 MLAs and 14 former ministers.

Former secondary education minister Rangnath Mishra is contesting from Mirzapur Sadar seat on BSP ticket, whereas sacked higher education minister Rakesh Dhar Tripathi is in fray as an independent candidate from Handiya seat in Allahabad.

Two BJP heavyweights Legislative Party Leader Om Prakash Singh is contesting from Chunar while former Vidhan Sabha speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi is contesting from Allahabad South seat.

Shekhar Bahuguna, brother of state Congress president, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, is in fray for Phaphamau seat in Allahabad, whereas Ujjwal Rama Singh, son of SP MP and former Minister Reoti Raman Singh, from Karchana seat.

Fate of sitting Congress MLA Amita Singh and national general secretary of Apna Dal Anupriya Patel would also be decided in this phase.

Fate of number of heavyweights would also be decided in the third phase of elections.

Former MP and accused in several cases Ateeq Ahmad is Apna Dal candidate from Allahabad West seat.

Mafia don Brijesh Singh is in fray from Syedraza seat in Chandauli district as Pragatisheel Manav Samaj candidate.

Accused in several shootouts, Prem Prakash Singh alias Munna Bajrangi, currently lodged in TIhar Jail, is in fray as Apna Dal candidate from Madiyahon in Jaunpur district.

SP MLA Vijay Mishra, who is currently lodged in jail in connection with attack on cabinet minister Nand Gopal Gupta alias Nandi, is seeking re-election from Gyanpur seat in Bhadoi district.

Jagriti Singh, wife of BSP MP Dhananjay Singh, lodged in jail in a double murder case, is contesting from Malhani seat in Jaunpur district as an independent candidate.

Other prominent candidates include, six time MLA from Varanasi south Shyam Dev Rai Chaudhary - BJP, five time MLA from Malhani and two time MP Parasnath Yadav - SP and former bureaucrat Rajendra Pandey from Manjhwa seat in Mirzapur district.

The voters will cast their votes at 18374 polling booths at 11607 polling centres.

In the 2007 assembly elections, the third phase covered 52 seats, of which BSP won 31, SP 11, BJP 6, Congress 3 and independent one.


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