Eight seats in western UP to go to polls on April 19

The seats going to polls on Friday are Saharanpur, Bijnor, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Nagina (reserved for Scheduled Castes), Moradabad, Rampur and Pilibhit.
Last Updated : 18 April 2024, 09:44 IST
Last Updated : 18 April 2024, 09:44 IST

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Lucknow: The voters of eight Lok Sabha constituencies in western Uttar Pradesh, falling in the Jat and sugarcane belt, are set to exercise their constitutional right as polling for the first phase of the seven-phase parliamentary election begins on Friday.

The seats going to polls on Friday are Saharanpur, Bijnor, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Nagina (reserved for Scheduled Castes), Moradabad, Rampur and Pilibhit.

The poll campaign for the first phase ended on Wednesday evening. Chief Electoral Officer Navdeep Rinwa said no campaign-related activity by candidates is allowed in these eight constituencies now and the final preparations for polling are on.

The stage is set for a three-cornered poll contest between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Employment, education and development are among the leading issues for the voters in these constituencies. While the BJP has pitched its campaign on development and the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the opposition leaders have raised the issues of farm bills and employment in the region.

According to poll officials, the presence of the workers of all political parties has been restricted in these constituencies with the conclusion of the campaign.

"Flying squads, excise teams, static surveillance teams and the District Control Room are active in these constituencies," an officer said.

A total of 80 candidates—73 men and seven women—are in the fray in the first phase of polling.

According to the Election Commission (EC), 1.43 crore people are eligible to cast their votes in the first phase. Of them, 76.23 lakh are men, 67.14 lakh women and 824 are transgender persons. According to data compiled by political parties, Muslim voters account for 35 to 50 per cent of the electorate in these constituencies.

Twelve candidates are in the fray from Moradabad, 14 from Kairana, 11 each from Muzaffarnagar and Bijnor, 10 each from Saharanpur and Pilibhit and six each from Nagina and Rampur.

The BJP has joined hands with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the SP has allied with the Congress for the election, while the BSP has decided to go solo.

The poll campaign was launched in the region by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a massive rally on March 31. On April 9, Modi held his second rally in Pilibhit, where the BJP has fielded Jitin Prasada, neglecting two-time member of Parliament Varun Gandhi.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has addressed more than 20 rallies in the constituencies going to polls in the first phase.

SP president and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has addressed rallies in Pilibhit, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad and Nagina while BSP supremo Mayawati, also a former chief minister, and her nephew Akash Anand have addressed several election meetings.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra held a roadshow in Saharanpur on Wednesday, garnering support for Imran Masood, who is in the fray as the INDIA opposition bloc candidate.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP bagged Muzaffarnagar, Kairana and Pilibhit, while the SP emerged victorious in Moradabad and Rampur, and the BSP in Saharanpur, Nagina and Bijnor.

Subsequently, the BJP wrested back Rampur in a bypoll.

Prominent candidates in this phase are Prasada from Pilibhit, Union minister Sanjeev Balyan from Muzaffarnagar and Azad Samaj Party chief Chandra Shekhar Azad from Nagina.

The SP's Muslim face in Rampur, Azam Khan, is conspicuous by his absence in the constituency as he is currently lodged in a jail in Sitapur.

Published 18 April 2024, 09:44 IST

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