Lucknow, Feb 8: The campaigning for the first phase of the high-stake Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will come to an end on Thursday in 73 constituencies spread over 15 districts including riot-scarred Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.
Polling in these constituencies will be held on February 11. The Bharatiya Janata Party had won just 11 of the 73 seats in 2012, but improved its performance significantly in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The party has gone all out this time to woo the electorate. The saffron brigade was led by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah, both of whom hopped from one venue to another in a race against time.
Modi asked people to "rid the state of SCAM - S for Samajwadi (party), C for Congress, A for Akhilesh (Yadav) and M for Mayawati", saying they have to choose between development agenda of BJP and those who give shelter to criminals, indulge in vote bank politics and encourage land and mine mafias.
Not to take the comment lying down, Samajwadi Party President and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in his rallies told the electorate that SCAM actually stood for 'Save the Country from Amit Shah and Modi'.
Hitting back at Modi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi alleged that one who is in the wrong, sees scam in everything and said "S infact stands for 'service', C for 'courage', A for 'ability' and M for 'modesty'."
Both Modi and Shah slammed Congress and Samajwadi Party, saying Rahul ran a campaign against the SP government and wondered as to what happened overnight that they were embracing each other.
Taking potshots at Rahul and Akhilesh, the BJP chief said "both are 'khoobsurat shehzade' (good-looking princes) who are out to mislead the public... Mother is fed up with one and father is fed up with the other. How will they help UP? One has looted the country, while the other has looted the state".
In his no-holds-barred attack, Shah said, "Congress-SP alliance is an alliance of corruption and criminalisation". Rahul, on the other hand, harped on the issue of note ban and attacked Modi, saying, "Demonetisation has hurt the poor most".
There would be a three-cornered fight between BJP, BSP and SP-Congress alliance in UP. Out of the 403 assembly seats, SP would be contesting 298 and Congress the rest 105.