There is a reason why updates on Uttar Pradesh elections garner much attention across the country. The Hindi heartland has given eight of the fourteen prime ministers in India as it continues to be play a pivotal role in the nation's politics. It is also the state that sends the most numbers of MPs to both houses, but especially Rajya Sabha (31) apart. And this is what makes the election results to be announced on 11 March even more crucial to national politics.
While for the BJP, UP polls will be one chance to wrest free the Rajya Sabha from the controls of the Opposition, ensuring that BJP's strength is limited in Rajya Sabha is the only respite Congress can hope for until the next Lok Sabha Elections. Add to this the fact that the Presidential elections are nearing and whoever rules UP could have a major say in choosing the next Constitutional head of the country.
Besides this, the high-octane and bitter political campaign in the run-up to election has raised the stakes of all players invested in the election. While it is a prestige issue for the BJP, with the prime minister Modi invested so much in the campaigning, the results could also make or mar Akhilesh Yadav's political Yadav who only recently dethroned his father to take over the Samajwadi Party.
Meanwhile, the election brouhaha though high-pitched from across the state, had epicentres of activity across the seven phases, which draws special attention to these political hotspots in the state. While for the BJP, seats like Varanasi are of paramount importance with Modi camping their for three days, Akhilesh Yadav will have to prove his mettle as the new leader by retaining the traditional Yadav bastion of Saifai-Etawah-Azamgarh belt.
So on the eve of March 11, let's have a quick look at the most important constituencies in the state.
In the first phase, communally-sensitive Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mathura, Hathras, Agra, Firozabad, Etah and Kasganj.
In the second phase, districts which are considered to be Samajwadi Party stronghold are in fray and they are: Badaun, Bareilly, Bijnor, Moradabad and Rampur, among others. In the third phase, the 12 districts where polling was held included Farrukhabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Hardoi, Kannauj, Kanpur rural, Kanpur city, Unnao, Lucknow, Barabanki, Auraiyya and Sitapur. Among the seats that went to polls included the ones where various members of the ruling SP have been fielded: the Lucknow Cantt where Aparna Yadav took on Rita Bhaguna Joshi, the Congress veteran who switched sides and is now fighting on a BJP ticket; Akhilesh Yadav's uncle Shivpal Yadav's Jaswantnagar and cousin Anurag Yadav from Lucknow's Sarojini Nagar seat.
The fourth phase was crucial as 53 assembly constituencies of the 12 districts voted. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati were among the high profile politicians who campaigned for phase 4. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's VIP constituency Raebareli was also in the fray. Other districts going to polls in the fourth phase are Mahoba, Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Lalitpur, Banda, Allahabad, Chitrakoot and Fatehpur.
Phase five, considered to be the deciding factor for BJP, was an interesting one. A total of 608 candidates contested in phase five with a maximum of 24 candidates in Amethi and a minimum of 6 each in Kapilvastu and Etwa seats of Siddharth Nagar district. The Terai region close to the foothills of Nepal and parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh were part of phase five in 51 Assembly constituencies spread across 11 districts. The districts which went to polls in this phase are Balrampur, Gonda, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Siddharth Nagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Amethi, and Sultanpur.
In phase six, 49 constituencies spread across seven districts cast their ballot. Important districts included, Maharajganj, Kushi Nagar, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Azamgarh, Mau and Ballia. In phase seven, 40 constituencies spread across seven districts went to polls. Among the important seats in fray, Varanasi Cantt,Varanasi South, Ghazipur, Bhadohi, Jaunpur.
Updated Date: Mar 11, 2017 15:22:00 IST