The third-phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections took place on February 19 in 69 major constituencies of the state with a 61.16 per cent voter turnaround. As this phase of elections were crucial for the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had no stone unturned to lure voters with all that has got. Fate of more than 820 candidates from over 105 political parties are in the fray as elections took place amid tight security arrangements at 25,603 polling booths. The 12 districts that went for polling on Sunday included Farrukhabad, Kanpur city, Unnao, Lucknow, Etawah, Hardoi, Kannauj, Barabanki, Auraiyya, Sitapur, Mainpuri and Kanpur rural.
UP has seen many high-decibel electoral campaigns and roadshows by some major political parties including SP along with Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). The elections have now reached a crucial stage and stakes are highest for the ruling SP, as the party did tremendously well during the 2012 Assembly polls. The ruling party has been largely betting on CM’s ‘kaam bolta hai’ campaign and its last-minute alliance with the Congress clearly indicates that fight from opposition is tough. After joining hands, both Akhilesh and Congress VP Rahul Gandhi have strengthened their ante against opposition including BJP and BSP. They have even accused PM Narendra Modi of causing an unrest in the state with his several inept policies including demonetisation. On the other hand, BJP, who has not announced its chief ministerial candidate for the state, believes that the ruling party has hindered development in the state for years and is responsible for the law-and-order failure here.
Making it a high-octane triangular bet, Mayawati-led BSP has emerged as a strong contender as she has been luring voters with her back to back rallies and roadshows in the state. Many experts believe that a large chunk of Muslim votes between SP-Congress alliance and BSP could benefit BJP in the ongoing elections in the country’s most populous state.
Varanasi North is constituency No. 388 of Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly. This constituency is situated in Varanasi district and comes under the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. It is an open constituency.
Number of voters
As per the Election Commission data, Varanasi North has a total of 3,46,724 registered electorates. Out of which 1,92,216 are male and 1,54,486 are female registered voters.
Who was the winner last time
During the 2012 Assembly election, BJP won this constituency by a narrow margin of 2,336 votes. Ravindra Jaiswal from BJP bagged 47,980 votes followed by the BSP candidate Sujit Kumar Maurya who got 45,644 votes. The voter turnout was 55.49 per cent.
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What are the key issues
Development is one big issue in this region. Healthcare, Ganga River cleaning and better education are some other concern people have here.
Who are the competing candidates
Ravindra Jaiswal (BJP), Abdul Samad Ansari (Congress), Sujit Kumar Maurya (BSP) and Vibya Kumar (RLD).
Why this constituency is important?
It is said that the constituency belongs to the BJP, but this time its will not be a cakewalk for the saffron party. Voters in this region thinks that they have been taken for granted. Several promises including Ganga cleaning are still not fulfilled by the political parties. Both BJP and SP are speculated to see a downfall in their vote bank as the constituency now seeks to support independent candidates.