But after voting in 73 constituencies of high-stake western Uttar Pradesh, BJP is feeling the heat.
Polling for first two phases of Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017 had ended and curtains are set to come down on the hectic campaign for the Phase 3 on Friday. But after voting in 73 constituencies of high-stake western Uttar Pradesh, BJP is feeling the heat, according to The Indian Express report. In-house analysis of BJP indicates that party might fail to replicate the success of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the reports says. Polling in the western part of the state was seen as a litmus test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nearly three-year rule in the Centre. In 2012, both SP and BSP bagged 24 seats each, with Rashtriya Lok Dal headed by Ajit Singh bagging nine and Congress five and BJP 11. BJP had swept the state in the 2014 general elections, which gave the saffron party majority in Lok Sabha, and none of other parties could open their account in the region. Now BJP is banking big on PM Modi to gain support from non-Yadav OBCs and farmers of central and eastern UP even as the party seeks to raise its election pitch. State party leaders now want more and more of its star campaigner in the campaigning for the upcoming phases.
“BJP leaders had been hoping for consolidation of the Hindu vote, a trend widely attributed for the party’s sweep of western UP in the Lok Sabha elections. Now, leaders confide that this did not take place despite a conducive atmosphere,” the report says. PM Modi had addressed rallies in Kannauj, Barabanki and Hardoi this week, and is set to address one each in Fatepur (Sunday) and Phulpur-Allahabad (Monday), followed by rallies in Gonda and Basti later this month.
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839 candidates, including from main contenders BJP, BSP, allies Congress and Samajwadi party, RLD as well independents, were in the fray from the seats in 15 districts where 26,823 polling stations had set up. Among the electorate were 1.17 crore women and 1,508 belonging to third gender category. The largest constituency in terms of electorate was Sahibabad, while Jalesar was the smallest. The maximum number of 26 candidates were in fray from Agra South, while the least number of aspirants were in Hastinapur which has six candidates.
After the first phase of polling, major parties in Uttar Pradesh claimed that they have swept the round and were on the road to form government in the politically crucial state. Samajwadi Party party chief Akhilesh Yadav said that the downfall of those who had “befooled” the people promising “achche din” has started while Mayawati asserted that she will prove pollsters wrong as she did in 2007 when they predicted her defeat. Claiming that SP was ahead of rivals in the first phase, Akhilesh said the trend will continue and the alliance will get majority. BJP Chief Amit Shah claimed ‘achhe din’ will come in Uttar Pradesh after counting of votes on March 11. PM Modi himself has said that BJP will form the government post March 11 when results will be out.
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The first phase of voting in the Muslim-dominated region could throw light on the presence of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by Asaduddin Owaisi. The Muslim-dominated areas in the belt will be an acid test for BSP chief Mayawati, who is banking heavily on Dalit and Muslim votes. The region was once BSP’s favourite hunting ground.
The districts that went to polls in the first phase are Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mathura, Hathras, Agra, Firozabad, Etah and Kasganj.