Lucknow, Mar 2: Bitter poll campaign with sharp attacks and counter-attacks came to a close this evening for the 49 Uttar Pradesh assembly seats, the voting for which is to be held on March 4 with SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav's Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency being in focus.
Assembly segments of Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency of firebrand BJP leader Yogi Adityanath, and Mau, where jailed gangster-turned-MLA Mukhtar Ansari is in fray, also figure in this sixth and penultimate phase of polling. The campaigning saw BJP state president KP Maurya likening rivals SP, Congress and BSP to different types of venomous "snakes" and "social cancer" and urging people to eliminate them by voting for the BJP.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav countered BJP saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conceded defeat in the polls by talking about a hung house. While mustering votes for BJP, Modi sought to prove wrong the prophets of doom after demonetisation saying the latest GDP data showed note-ban did not affect growth rate but rather improved it. Mocking economists, he said, "Hardwork, in fact, is much more powerful than Harvard."
Sounding highly optimistic of the poll outcome for BJP, Modi said the debate now is whether BJP will get two-third or three-fourth majority. "Never have elections gone one way like this... there had been no dearth in enthusiasm of voters in all five phases," he said.
The PM also caught UP Chief Minister on the wrong foot and cited government website to nail him. "Life in Uttar Pradesh is short and uncertain... Uttar Pradesh resembles Saharan Africa," Modi said quoting a para from the state government's official website up.gov.in. Modi also ridiculed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for his latest "coconut juice" remark.
"There is a Congress leader, and I want to pray for his long life... he recently went to Manipur to address an election rally. There he told farmers that he would extract juice from coconuts and send it to London. In fact, a coconut possesses water (and not juice) and it is grown in Kerala," he said. "It is like setting up a potato factory," Modi said referring to Rahul's earlier remarks that he wants to set up potato factories in Uttar Pradesh.