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Uttar Pradesh Election 2017: State to vote in seven phases from 11 February to 8 March

Uttar Pradesh will vote in a seven-phase election for its 403 seats on 11, 15, 19, 23 and 27 February, and 4 and 8 March.

This is probably 2017's biggest litmust test for political parties in fray for the upcoming Assembly elections. The fight is in five crucial states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab. However, in the past few months Uttar Pradesh politics has garnered the most interest, thanks to the chacha-bhatija drama playing out in the ruling party of the state.

The largest and the most crucial of all states - political parties in Uttar Pradesh will fight for 403 seats. The major parties in fray are Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress. BJP's campaign, spearheaded by none other than the prime minister himself, has boasted of attracting the most crowd in the  state. The spirits are buoyed in the party, especially with the ruling SP mired in family skirmishes and ongoing drama between chief minister and now party chief Akhilesh Yadav, his father and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mulayam's brother Shivpal Yadav.

File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Reuters

File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Reuters

Interestingly, in the 2014 general elections, the BJP had won more votes in Uttar Pradesh than the BSP and the SP put together. The BJP won 34.3 million votes, compared to the SP’s 18 million and the BSP’s 15.9 million. However, it will be mighty difficult to predict the election results in the state. Considering the poll fight will be a three or a four-way fight, it is too premature to foretell parties' future in the state. For the two national parties - BJP and Congress - who have been pushed to the margins by regional parties, the elections will set the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

UP was crucial for BJP's 2014 election sweep. Of the 80 Lok Sabha seats – the highest for any state – the BJP won 71. So a win in the state is extremely high on their agenda, however a defeat would definitely worry the BJP leadership.

The Election Commission is likely to hold a seven-phase poll in Uttar Pradesh and single-phased polling in the four other states. Deputy Election Commissioner Vijay Kumar Dev has directed the authorities in the western Uttar Pradesh districts to keep strict vigil and surveillance in order to thwart any untoward incident in the upcoming state Assembly polls.

While addressing a meeting of senior police and administration officials of the region in Meerut on Monday, Dev asked the authorities in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Saharanpur, Baghpat, Bulandshahr, Noida and Hapur to share the list with the Election Commission of proclaimed offenders and history-sheeters.

The directions were given keeping in view the security and to prevent criminals indulge in any malpractices during the polls. Special barriers would be put up at the state borders to check vehicles entering from neighbouring Delhi, Haryana and Uttarakhand. This will include barricading on the Delhi-Dehradun and the Panipat-Khatima highways.

Dev also asked the jail authorities in the concerned to provide a list of gangsters lodged in their respective jails. In Muzzaffarnagar district jails, a total of 478 criminals are lodged under the Gangster Act.

Updated Date: Jan 04, 2017 20:51 PM

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