Lucknow, Feb 14: Polling will be held tomorrow in 67 Assembly constituencies of western Uttar Pradesh in the second of seven phases. The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pardesh had in 2012 won 34 of these seats spread across 11 districts.
It has tied-up with Congress this time in the contest against BJP and BSP. 720 candidates are in the fray in this phase in UP with a maximum of 22 from Barhapur (Bijnor) and a minimum of four nominees from Dhanaura (Amroha). 2.28 crore people are eligible to vote, including over 1.04 crore women.
14,771 polling centres and 23,693 polling stations have been set up in the districts of Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Bareilly, Amroha, Pilibhit, Kheri, Shahjahanpur and Badaun and elaborate security arrangements made to ensure free amd fair polling, election officials said.
Prominent contestants include controversial SP minister Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam, who are contesting from Rampur and Swar seats respectively, Saif Ali Naqvi, son of former Congress MP Zafar Ali Naqvi, former central minister Jitin Prasada from Tilhar (Shahjahanpur), BJP Legislature Party leader Suresh Kumar Khanna from Shahjahanpur city and state minister Mehboob Ali from Amroha.
BSP had bagged 18 seats last time, BJP 10, Congress three and others two. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah led the party campaign, intensifying their attack on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his ally Congress. BJP is hoping to replicate its 2014 general election performance when it swept the politically crucial state.
The SP-Congress alliance's charge was spearheaded by Akhilesh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. BSP supremo Mayawati reached out to minority voters and said she will prove pollsters wrong as she did in 2012, when they had predicted her defeat.
The BJP has been attacking the ruling parties in the state over corruption. Modi raised the issue of demonetisation and surgical strikes repeatedly at his rallies. Congress and Samajwadi Party have in turn accused Modi of failing to deliver on his promises and causing suffering to the common man with note ban.