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Litmus Test Of Political Parties In First Phase Of Polls in UP

Lucknow: The first phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh covering the communal sensitive western parts will be a litmus test for the BJP and the BSP which will give the indication of the party emerging as top in the state polls. The so call Jatland and the sugar belt of the Northern India, covers some sensitive districts like Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Baghpat, Meerut, Etah, Agra, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Mathura. The polling for the first phase would be held on February 11 covering 15 districts when the fate of several senior politicians would be sealed. The VVIP seats in the first phase would be Noida where Pankaj Singh, son of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and in Atrauli in Aligarh district Sandeep Singh, grandson of former UP CM Kalyan Singh would be vying for their maiden entry in the UP Assembly. Similarly, Ms Mriganka Singh, daughter of BJP MP Hukum Singh is also fighting her first election from Kairana seat on BJP ticket. There are more than 25 VVIP seats in the first phase where there is a tough contest of ballots. The Sardhana seat in Meerut and Thanabhawan seat in Shamli where Muzaffarnagar riot accused and BJP candidates Santi Singh Som and Suresh Rana respectively are trying to re-enter the assembly. Congress legislature party leader Pradeep Mathur, a three time MLA from Mathura seat, has been challenged by BJP national spokesperson Srikant Sharma this time while Rahul Yadav, son- in-law of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, was contesting on SP ticket from Sikendrabad seat in Gautam Buddha Nagar district. Former BJP UP president Laxmikant Bajpai was also trying his luck from Meerut(city) seat to make a hat trick. On one hand, the SP and the BSP would have to contain its seats won in 2012, while the BJP, after its ride in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, will have the pressure to repeat its feat. Though the Muslims and Jat population would be the deciding factor in the first phase of elections, but with the presence of RLD, there is a wide speculation that the Jat votes could split between BJP and RLD while similar could happen in the Muslim votes between BSP and the SP-Congress alliance. The phase will witness some direct fight between the BJP and BSP but in several seats, the SP-Congress alliance and the Rashtriya Lok Dal(RLD) could surprise the formidable contestants. But bickering within the BJP over candidates selection could ruin their prospect, which is totally banking on the polarisation of the elections and roping in all the majority community votes like they did in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. However, Kairana exodus and communal riots in Muzaffarnagar would again hit the limelight in these elections too which would be negative for the SP-Congress alliance. But demand for Jat reservation would again surface in these elections, which would be tormenting for the BJP. BSP, which had fielded 100 Muslim candidates in UP polls this time, was also eager to ride their elephant symbol on a new Dalit-Muslim combination in the state. The SP-Congress alliance was trying to dent into the Muslim and upper caste vote bank but confusion in their alliance was jeopardizing their chances. At least in three assembly segments in the first phase--Baldev in Mathura, Kol in Aligarh and Purkazi in Muzaffarnagar --have SP and Congress candidates contesting against each other. Candidates by the RLD led by Ajit Singh , AIMIM of Asaduddin Owaisi and other smaller parties would impact the fate of the bigger parties and could spoil their run to the UP assembly. Owaisi was already campaigning in Muslim-dominated areas of western UP for the past couple of weeks, while RLD is banking on its core Jat vote bank. RLD was contesting in 59 seats in the first phase. In the 2012 Assembly polls, the results in these 73 assembly segments were 24 in favour of SP , 23 for BSP, 12 for BJP, nine for RLD and five for Congress. BJP, which won just 12 seats in 2012 assembly polls would be looking for repeat of its 2014 Lok Sabha feat when it took lead in 60 seats and won all the Lok Sabha seats except for Ferozabad. On the other hand BSP is totally banking on its dalit-muslim agenda with connecting it with Sarv Samaj.The lone campaigner Mayawati had hit BJP and the SP- Congress alliance in the vigor to get the secular votes under her umbrella. However, the SP- Congress alliance riding on prevailing confusion and the SP infighting has started picking up the campaign and now trying to remove all the doubt from the minds of the voters. But RLD of Ajit Singh, could play the spoilsport for BJP and the SP- Congress alliance as it can dent into the Jat as well as the Muslim vote bank to any extent.


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