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Eastern region , going to polls in last phase, holds the key to power in UP

Lucknow: Whosoever captures the East has to worry the least. This belief is shared by many in Uttar Pradesh with regard to victory in the electoral battle. Polling in majority of assembly seats in the region has been already held. The remaining 40 seats will go to polls next Wednesday.

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Published on 7 March 2017 3:43 AM GMT

Eastern region , going to polls in last phase, holds the key to power in UP
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Eastern region , going to polls in last phase, holds the key to power UP
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Lucknow: Whosoever captures the East has to worry the least. This belief is shared by many in Uttar Pradesh with regard to victory in the electoral battle. Polling in majority of assembly seats in the region has been already held. The remaining 40 seats will go to polls next Wednesday.

This belief is not without reason. Past history too supports it. The ruling Samajwadi Party had bagged majority of seats in the region in the previous assembly polls and was able to form government on its own in 2012. So was the case in 2007 when the Bahujan Samaj Party had assumed power.

The BSP had bagged 97 of the total 170 seats spread over 28 districts in the area in 2007 and come to power. Similarly, the SP was victorious on 106 seats in the region which enabled it to unseat the former. The BSP was in a commanding position in this part till the year 2009 as it had won 23 Lok Sabha seats that year. The decline set in after the 2009 parliamentary polls so much so that it was routed in next two elections.

It was precisely for this reason that the Bharatiya Janata Party had shifted the headquarters from the state capital to Varanasi in the east after the fifth phase of election and Modi and some other party leaders camped there for a considerable period of time.

Modi, in fact, stayed there for three days despite his busy schedule and also participated in a roadshow to re-establish the importance of the area and to stress that he attaches much importance to his parliamentary constituency.

The party had to work hard in this part of the state because in the last two assembly polls it had done poorly and it had lot of lost grounds to recover. In the previously assembly elections, it had won only 15 of the total 89 seats which were slated to go to polls in the last two phases,

The party hopes to do much betters this time because of the Modi magic and division of Muslim votes. Internal squabble in the SP and fear of sabotage by disgruntled elements in the party have strengthened its belief.

The BSP has worked equally hard in the region because if it does not perform well this time it will lose much of its importance. It has lost two previous elections in a row, losing much of its shine.

The party had launched its campaign in the area more than than three months ago and has tried to repeat its old social engineering formula it had used to victory in 2007. In addition to emphasis on Dalits and Muslims, it has put stress on Brahmin upper caste, like that year. The party's Brahmin face, Satish Chandra Mishra, was asked to work overtime in the region to win back the upper caste support.

Two ministers in the SP government besides leaders of the Qaumi Ekta Dal who were refused tickets by the party were accommodated to improve the BSP's prospects. How far all this has helped the BSP will be known only on March 11 when votes will be counted.

It could be mentioned that apart from Varanasi the focus would also be at three Naxal-affected districts of Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli.

The last phase of polling will be held in seven districts, namely, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Chandauli, Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Sonbhadra and Jaunpur with a total of 1.41 crore voters, including 64.76 lakh females exercising their franchise to decide the fate of 535 candidates. A number of 14,458 polling booths have been set up in this phase.

At the moment the fight seems to be tight in the region among these three parties with the Congress occupying the backseat of SP's cycle. It is also certain at present that the region will be a decider as far as the Lucknow gaddi is concerned.

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