UP gears up for fourth phase of elections

Gandhi family strongholds too will go to poll

The fourth phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls on Sunday will test the popularity of AICC president Sonia Gandhi and party’s star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi Vadra besides deciding the fate of several high-profile leaders.

Polling will held on 56 Assembly seats spread across 10 districts, including Raebareli — the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress president Sonia Gandhi — and two Assembly segments in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency.

Priyanka has extensively campaigned in Raebareli and Amethi in the hope of making a clean sweep this time. The Congress had won four of the five Assembly seats in Raebareli in the previous poll.

The districts, where polling will be held in the fourth phase included Lucknow, Banda, Chitrakoot, Hardoi, Pratapgarh, Unnao, Farrukhabad, Fatehpur and Kannauj.

The phase will also decide the fate of Louis Khurshid, the wife of Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid. She is contesting from Farrukhabad Assembly seat. The minister had been in controversy following his remark over hiking reservation for backward Muslims.

UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s fate would also be decided on Sunday. Joshi is contesting from Lucknow Cant seat. The phase will also put to test Congress state legislature party leader Pramod Tewari and Gulabi Gang leader Sampat Pal.

BSP supreme Mayawati’s trusted lieutenant Naseemuddin Siddique and tainted UP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha will also be tested in this phase on their home turf of Banda.

Other prominent leaders, who will be facing the electorate in this phase included UP ministers Ayodhya Pal, Nakul Dubey and Abdul Mannan, BJP leader Kalraj Mishra, Gopal Tandon and Samajwadi Party leader Nitin Agarwal. Veer Pal, son of the dreaded slain dacoit Dadua, is also in the fray in this phase on a SP ticket from Chitrakoot.

In the previous Assembly poll, the BSP had bagged 25 seats from this region followed by the SP, which finished second with 14 seats. The BJP and the Congress had won from 7 seats each.

Kushwaha’s old habits die hard

Kushwaha forgot that the saffron party was now his home after expulsion from the BSP and that he had put his membership on hold until cleared in the NRHM scam matter.
“Make sure that the SP, BSP and BJP are defeated,” Kushwaha said. He, however, realised his mistake and corrected, “Oh! sorry...not BJP...you have to vote for the BJP.”

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