As the third of the seven-phased Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections witness a decent voter turnaround of 61.16 per cent, 69 constituencies went for polling amid tight security arrangements at more than 25,600 seats. The 12 districts that went for polling on February 19 included Farrukhabad, Kanpur city, Unnao, Lucknow, Etawah, Hardoi, Kannauj, Barabanki, Auraiyya, Sitapur, Mainpuri and Kanpur rural. The state has witnessed months long high-decibel campaigns and roadshows by leading political parties running in fray to gain majority in the state. The elections are considered crucial for the ruling Samajwadi Party and thus, party president and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has joined forces with Congress in order to defeat the Bharatiya Jana Party. Betting on the inconvenience caused to the people due to government’s demonetisation, the incumbent CM has always blamed PM Modi and BJP government for causing unrest not just in UP, but in the country. Congress has recently accused PM Modi of fanning communalism during his campaign speech. Though BJP has not announced its chief ministerial candidate yet, but the saffron party is confident about forming government with full majority. BJP has also blamed SP of acting as a roadblock to the development of the state for years.
Mayawati-led BSP has emerged as a strong contender and has made this entire political episode a three-cornered battle. Many experts believe that a large chunk of Muslim votes between SP-Congress alliance and BSP could benefit BJP in the ongoing elections. Such high voter turnout clearly indicates that the electorate is turning out to vote to effect a major change.
Varanasi South is constituency No. 389 of Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly. It 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, this constituency has a total of 2,72,845 registered electorates out of which 1,51,589 are male and 1,21,256 are female registered voters.
Who was the winner last time
The BJP won this constituency during the 2012 Assembly elections. Shyamdev Roy Chaudhari from BJP bagged 57,868 votes followed by Dayashankar Mishra of Congress who got 44,046 votes. The voter turnout was 55.49 per cent.
What are the key issues
Development and cleanliness are some major issues in this region of Uttar Pradesh.
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Who are the competing candidates
Dr Neelkanth Tiwari (BJP), Rakesh Tripathi (BSP), Rajesh Mishra (Congress) and Kishan Seth (IND).
Why this constituency is important?
Varanasi was considered as one of the safest zone for the BJP and even its sitting MLA had kept the seat safe for seven long years. But, after the entire dispute over idol immersion in 2015, Congress seems to have taken a lead here.