Polling underway for 14 LS seats in UP

Lucknow, May 25 (UNI) Polling for 14 parliamentary constituencies in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, which will seal the fate of several stalwarts including sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs Maneka Gandhi, Dinesh Lal Nirhua and Dharmendra Yadav of Samajwadi Party (SP), began on Saturday amid tight security arrangements, a senior poll official said here.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Navdeep Rinwa said that the polling on these 14 seats which started at 7 am will continue till 6 pm. He said that besides 14 Lok Sabha seats, by-poll for Gainsari assembly seat in Balrampur district, which fell vacant due to demise of sitting SP MLA Dr SP Yadav, is also be held.

Polling is underway in Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phoolpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Shravasti, Domariaganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr and Bhadohi. Of these 12 seats are general category and two are reserved for scheduled castes.

These seats are spread over 15 districts of Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Prayagraj, Ambedkar Nagar, Ayodhya, Balrampur, Shravasti, Siddharth Nagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Varanasi and Bhadohi.

There are over 2.7 crore voters including 1.43 crore male and 1.27 crore female, who will decide the fate of 162 candidates comprising 146 male and 16 female. “The polling is being held at 28,171 polling booths spread over 17,113 polling stations,” he said.

Rinwa said that to maintain a close vigil the Election Commission has deployed 3 special observers, along with 14 normal, 8 police and 18 expenditure observers. “For law and order 2,192 sector magistrates, 282 zonal magistrates and 24 static magistrates have also bee deployed. Besides, to assist the observers 2,833 micro observers have also been deployed,” he said.

Meanwhile, police sources said that 8,840 Inspectors and Sub Inspectors, along with 68,191 head constables and constables, 48,091 Home Guards, 49 companies of PAC and 229 companies of CAPF have been deployed to ensure free and fair elections. “As a force multiplier 18,862 village chowkidars nd 443 PRD jawans have also been deployed,” they said.

In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, out of these 14 seats ruling BJP won 9 seats including Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Basti, Allahabad, Domariyaganj, Sant Kabir Nagar, Bhadohi and Machhlishahr.

Later the ruling BJP won the Azamgarh seat in 2022 by-elections when its candidates Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’ defeated Dharmendra Yadav, SP candidate and nephew of party chief Akhilesh Yadav.

Akhilesh won the seat in 2019 general elections, but resigned after he was elected MLA from Karhal seat in Mainpuri and opted to become the Leader of the Opposition Party in the UP Legislative Assembly.

In Sultanpur BJP’s sitting MP Maneka Gandhi is facing Bhim Nishad of SP and Uday Raj Verma of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). In Pratapgarh, the sitting BJP MP Sangam Lal Gupta is taking on the SP’s Shiv Pal Singh Patel.

The prestigious seat of Allahabad is witnessing a close contest between Neeraj Tripathi, who is son of veteran BJP leader and West Bengal Governor Kehsari Nath Tipathi and Ujjwal Rewati Raman Singh, who is son of senior SP leader Rewati Raman Singh. Ujjwal left SP ahead of the polls and joined Congress.

In Ambedkar Nagar, the BJP’s sitting MP Ritesh Pandey is facing the SP’s Lalji Verma. Pandey won the seat as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate in 2019.

In Domariyaganj, BJP MP Jagdambika Pal is having a close contest with Bhishma Shankar Tiwari of the SP and Khwaja Shamsuddin of the BSP. It may be mentioned that Bhishma Shankar alias Kushal Tiwari is son of former Minister and heavyweight Hari Shankar Tiwari.

In Jaunpur, former Maharashtra and BJP candidate Minister Kripashankar Singh is facing a challenge from Babu Singh Kushwaha of the SP and Shyam Singh Yadav of the BSP. Babu Singh Kushwaha faces corruption charges in National Rural Health Mission and his candidature is being opposed by local SP leaders.

In Bhadohi, Vinod Kumar Bind from the BJP locked in a direct battle against Lalitesh Pati Tripathi of Trinamool Congress. While Bind is the sitting MP, Tripathi is grandson of former UP CM Kamla Pati Tripathi.

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