Everything set for 3rd phase of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh

The BJP won 49 out of 59 seats while the SP only had to settle for 9. The Congress got one while the BSP drew a blank by 2017

[Image tweeted by Election Commission of India.]

Luck now: As the elections in Uttar Pradesh enter the third phase, the battle is becoming increasingly crucial for the BJP as well as the Samajwadi party.

The third phase ballot will be held on February 20 with 59 seats in 16 constituencies.

These include five districts in western UP – Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Kasganj and Hathras. Six districts from Avadh region namely Kanpur, Kanpur Dehat, Aurraiya, Kannauj, Etawah and Farrukhabad will go to the polls along with five districts from Bundelkhand-Jhansi region, Jalaun, Lalitpur, Hamirpur and Mahoba.

The area, known as the Yadav Belt, was once a stronghold of the Samajwadi party, but the majority of Yadav’s votes went to the BJP in 2017.

The BJP won 49 out of 59 seats while the SP only had to settle for 9. The Congress got one while the BSP drew a blank from here.

Even the stronghold of Yadav, which includes Firozabad, Kasganj, Etah, Mainpuri, Farrukhabad, Kannauj and Aurraiya did not vote for the SP which obtained only six seats in these constituencies.

Political observers believe that the family feud between Akhilesh and Shivpal was a major factor in this change.

The biggest came from Kannauj in 2019 when Akhilesh’s wife and sitting MP Dimple Yadav lost the Lok Sabha contest to the BJP even though SP was in alliance with BSP.

However, now Akhilesh has mended the fences with his uncle Shivpal and is contesting the Karhal Assembly seat in Mainpuri to reassure his Yadav constituents.

Karhal has been an SP stronghold and was retained by the party itself in 2017.

The BJP sent Union Minister Satya Pal Singh Baghel. who is also an OBC face in the party.

This is being touted as one of the big battles in this year’s election.

The third phase is also crucial for the BJP, which seeks to retain the 49 seats it won in 2017.

This phase has the constituency of Hathras where a gang rape tore apart in September 2020.

Akhilesh Yadav has kept the Hathras issue alive in his campaign. He observed ‘Hathras ki Beti Smriti Divas’ every month.

Then there is Kasganj where the death in custody of an Altaf in November last year had become a major embarrassment to the government of Yogi Adityanath. Police say Altaf was summoned for questioning in a case and ended his life by hanging from a water tap. The case is now before the courts.

Kanpur also goes to the polls in this phase and the murder of a city businessman, Manish Gupta, during a police raid in Gorakhpur last year, is brought up at every opposition meeting.

The phase also has five districts in Bundelkhand which was once a BSP stronghold but was swept away by the BJP in 2017.

While the BJP claims massive development in this region while seeking votes, the Samajwadi party exposes areas that have remained untouched by development.

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