UP: Polling underway on 13 seats in LS 4th phase

Lucknow, May 13 (UNI) Polling began for 13 parliamentary constituencies spread over a similar number of districts in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh amid tight security arrangements on Monday.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of UP Navdeep Rinwa said that polling is being held between 7 am to 6 pm at 26,588 polling booths spread over 16,334 polling stations in this phase. “Out of the total polling stations 4,715 have been identified as critical,” he said.

He said, “The 13 Lok Sabha seats for which polling is being held are Shahjahanpur, Kheri, Dhaurahra, Sitapur, Hardoi, Mishrikh, Unnao, Farrukhabad, Etawah, Kannauj, Kanpur, Akbarpur and Bahraich. Besides, a bye-election for Dadraul assembly seat in Shahjahanpur district is also being held simultaneously,”

He said that out of 13 Lok Sabha seats in the fourth phase, eight seats are of general category and five seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes. “These 13 seats are spread over 13 districts of the state — Shahjahanpur, Kheri, Sitapur, Hardoi, Kanpur Nagar, Unnao, Farrukhabad, Etah, Etawah, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Kannauj and Bahraich,” he said.

The CEO said that a total of 2.47 crore voters, including 1.31 crore male and 1.15 crore female, are eligible to decide the fate of 130 candidates, including 16 female, in the fray in this phase.

He said that to maintain a close vigil three special observers, 13 general observers, nine police observers and 17 expenditure observers have been deployed. “In addition to this 2,920 micro observers, 2,250 sector magistrates, 287 zonal magistrates and 111 static magistrates have been deployed,” he said.

Meanwhile, police sources said that in order to ensure peaceful conduct of the polling 8,209 inspectors and police inspectors, 65,500 constables and head constables, 45,976 Home Guards, 44 companies of PCA and 239 companies of CAPF have been deployed. “As force multiplier 10,788 village chowkidars and 915 PRD jawans have also been deployed,” they said.

It may be noted that prestige of several stalwarts, including SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and Union Minister of State Ajay Kumar Mishra ‘Teni’ is at stake in this phase.

A high profile contest is being witnessed in Kannauj seat where SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is challenging sitting MP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Subrat Pathak. Akhilesh is sitting MLA from Karhal seat in Mainpuri district and is Leader of the Opposition in the UP assembly.

In Kannauj SP initially declared Akhilesh’s nephew Tej Pratap Yadav as its candidate, but later on it was decided that the party chief himself will contest from the seat. Once considered to be a SP bastion, Akhilesh was elected MP from here thrice, including 2000, 2004 and 2009.

It was in 2012 after he was elected as the CM of UP, Akhilesh vacated the seat and his wife Dimple Yadav was elected unopposed. SP’s winning streak continued till 2019 when BJP candidate Subrat Pathak defeated Dimple by a slender margin of around 12,000 votes. This time SP is trying hard to reclaim the lost ground.

Another seat where BJP’s popularity will be put to test even after the infamous Tikonia incident is Kheri parliamentary constituency. From here sitting MP and Union Minister of State Ajay Kumar Mishra ‘Teni’ is again in the fray.

Top party leaders including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and UP CM Yogi Adityanath campaigned extensively in favour of Teni. On Kheri seat SP fielded a relatively new face Utkash Verma against Teni.

Shahjahanpur is all set to witness a three-cornered contest between sitting Arun Kumar Sagar of BJP, Rajesh Kashyap of SP and Daudram Verma. Here BJP is slightly having an upper hand as its MLAs represent all the six assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituency.

In Dhaurahra, which is considered BJP bastion, the party has repeated two time MP Rekha Verma. She will be facing a challenge from former MLC Anand Bhadauriya, who is considered close to SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. Bhadauriya contested the 2014 Lok Sabha seat from the same constituency, but lost and was placed third.

On Sitapur seat, BJP has reposed faith in two times MP Rajesh Verma who is facing challenge from a relatively new comer and Congress nominee Rakesh Rathore.

In Hardoi, sitting MP and BJP candidate Jai Prakash Rawat is being challenged by her arch rival Usha Verma of the SP. In 2019 general elections Rawat defeated Usha Verma by a margin of more than 1.32 lakh and was placed second.

On Misrikh seat, BJP has once again reposed faith in sitting MP Ashok Kumar Rawat who is being challenged by SP’s Manoj Kumar Rajwanshi.

Unnao is witnessing a close contest between a two-time MP and a former MP. While BJP has retained two time MP Sakshi Maharaj, SP has put its bet on former MP Anu Tandon, who won from here in 2009 as Congress candidate.

Kanpur is another seat where an interesting contest is on the cards. Here BJP had denied ticket to sitting MP Satyadev Pachauri and fielded a fresh face Ramesh Awasthi, a former journalist. As a part of alliance with SP, Congress has fielded Alok Mishra.

In the Akbarpur seat two time MP Devendra Singh ‘Bhole’ is seeking a third term as BJP candidate. He is being challenged by Raja Ram Pal of the SP and Rajesh Kumar Dwivedi of BSP.

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