Polling for the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will be held in 59 constituencies on Wednesday as curtains came down for the intense electioneering yesterday. The fate of all the 624 candidates contesting in the fourth phase of the UP elections will be sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
These 59 Assembly seats are spread across the districts of Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri, Sitapur, Hardoi, Unnao, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Banda, and Fatehpur. Lakhimpur Kheri hogged the national limelight after eight people, including four farmers, were killed after being mowed down by a vehicle during a protest. The BJP leader Ajay Kumar Mishra's son Ashish Mishra is accused in the case.
The BJP's Yogesh Verma had won the Lakhimpur seat in the 2017 Assembly polls by defeating Samajwadi Party's Utkarsh Verma Madhur with a formidable margin of more than 37,000 votes. The prestige of the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni will also be at stake in the Lakhimpur Kheri constituency. He's a local MP, besides having been at the center of controversy after his son was named in the FIR in the incident leading to the deaths of the farmers.
Interestingly, both the BJP and the SP have repeated their candidates. The constituency caught the eyeballs in the ongoing polls because of the political heat generated by the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in the Parliament and also outside. Congress has fielded Ravi Shankar Trivedi whereas the BSP has fielded Mohan Bajpai from the seat. Khushi Kinnar from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also in the fray along with AIMIM's Mohammad Usman Siddiqui.
Another keenly watched seat in this phase is the Sarojini Nagar seat in Lucknow where the former joint director of Enforcement Directorate, Rajeshwar Singh, is pitted against former IIM professor and a close aide of the former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Abhishek Mishra. Raebareli Sadar is one of the battles to watch out for with its sitting Congress MLA Aditi Singh now being a BJP nominee. State Law Minister Brijesh Pathak is facing Samajwadi party candidate and two-time Corporator Surendra Singh Gandhi in the Lucknow Cantonment seat.
The UP minister Ashutosh Tandon is in the fray from the Lucknow East seat against Deputy Speaker of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Nitin Agarwal, who is the Samajwadi Party nominee. The state is witnessing a multi-cornered contest with Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samajwadi Party (SP)-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) alliance, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) as principal contenders.
As a last-minute effort, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath while addressing an election campaign in Raebareli on Monday promised the launch of the Purohit Welfare Board in the state for the welfare of priests, sadhus, and special scholarship for students studying Sanskrit if the BJP is re-elected to power. Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, while addressing a rally in Hardoi, alleged that the BJP was trying to divert people's attention from real issues by speaking about "religion, Pakistan, and terrorism".
Voting for the remaining three phases of the seven-phase UP elections will take place on February 27, March 3, and 7. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.