Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017 phase 1: Campaign ends, now netas’ fate in people’s court

By: | Updated: February 9, 2017 6:55 PM

The high-decibel campaign for the Phase 1 of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2017 ended today.

 uttar pradesh assembly elections 2017, uttar pradesh assembly elections 2017 phase 1 campus, up election phase 1 campaign, uttar pradesh election phase 1, uttar pradesh phase 1, uttaar pradesh, mayawati, akhilesh yadav, narendra modi, rahul gandhi, amit shah, up election 2017, up election, uttarpradesh news, upo news, who will win UP People listen to a speech by Dimple Yadav (not in picture) wife of Samajwadi Party (SP) president and chief minister of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav, during an election campaign rally ahead of assembly polls, in Agra, India February 8, 2017. (REUTERS)

The high-decibel campaign for the Phase 1 of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2017 ended today. As many as 73 Assembly seats are up for grabs among four main contenders — SP-Congress alliance, BJP, BSP and RLD. Apart from these, there are numerous seasonal contenders for the seats. The entire campaign was loud and would be remembered as the one where Prime Minister Narendra Modi staked himself — not just promises but prestige also — to take on the opposition and seek votes for his party. The tone of the campaign for competing parties had to undergo a surprise change after Samajwadi Party and the Congress decided to fight together against others. The alliance also changed the nature of the contest from an expected four-cornered fight to a three-cornered one.

Here are some of the highlights of the campaign

1. PM Modi and BJP accused SP and BSP of plundering the state over the years. They targeted the SP-Congress alliance, claiming the two had come together to save themselves. They also urged voters to put an end to ‘vikas ka vanvas’ (exile of development) and projected demonetisation as a move to fight corruption.

2. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav led the alliance’s assault against BJP and BSP. Interestingly, the alliance talked more about BJP and rarely attacked the BSP. SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav kept away from the campaign after the family feud in which he lost control of the party to Akhilesh. Rahul and Akhilesh took over Modi over demonetisation and his ‘acche din’ promise. Akhilesh also asked people to vote for his “performance” on development front.

3. The 73 seats going to polls in the first phase are spread over 15 districts of western Uttar Pradesh. These including riot-scarred Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

4. During the campaign BJP leaders like Yogi Adityanath and Sangeet Som raised the issue of the alleged exodus of Hindus from some areas in west UP and accused the SP government of favouring a particular community.

5. In the last election, SP and BSP had bagged 24 seats each and BJP had 11 out of the 73. The region is also a stronghold of Rashtriya Lok Dal of Ajit Singh which had bagged nine seats and the Congress only five.

6. For Mayawati, Muslim-dominated areas in the region would be a litmus test as she is banking heavily on Dalit-Muslim vote bank. Once the region was BSP’s favourite. During her rallier, Mayawati accused the Modi government of interfering with the personal law of Muslims and ending reservations for backward communities in jobs. She attacked Akhilesh government over the law and order situation. She also told Muslims they must vote for BSP, not SP-Congress if they wanted to defeat BJP.

7. BJP termed SP-Congress alliance as “theatre of the absurd”. PM Modi and Amit Shah led the BJP campaign from the front.

8. PM Mlodi asked people to get rid of “SCAM” (S for Samajwadi (party), C for Congress, A for Akhilesh (Yadav) and M for Mayawati). Responding to Modi’s jibe, Akhilesh said in a rally that SCAM actually stood for ‘Save the Country from Amit Shah and Modi’. Rahul explained SCAM as “S for ‘service’, C for ‘courage’, A for ‘ability’ and M for ‘modesty’.”

9. There were also some incidents of violence during the campaign. One between supporters of archrivals SP and BSP in Hathras in which one person was killed and five others were injured. In another incident, an RLD leader got his brother killed for allegedly winning the sympathy votes.

(With PTI inputs)

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