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Home > News > Report

Parties gear up for UP polls

February 12, 2007 14:28 IST

Political parties in Uttar Pradesh have started gearing up for the coming Assembly poll, dates of which could be announced by the end of this month.

While the opposition is demanding imposition of President's rule ahead of the poll, the ruling Samajwadi Party has asserted it was ready for any "eventuality."

The united opposition has alleged free and fair polls were impossible under SP rule. However, SP charges the opposition, especially the Congress, with launching a misinformation campaign about the law and order situation in UP.

"Since, they have lost mass base, they are talking of law order. UP's law and order is much better than in Delhi," Chief Minister and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said.

The Congress has more or less decided to field its top state leaders in the Assembly election. Amethi Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi has been meeting local leaders to feel the pulse of the state. The decision to field UP Congress top shots was Rahul's idea, Congress leaders claimed.

"This will help us garner votes. The fielding of senior leaders would also ensure votes for smaller candidates in that region," claimed a UP Congress vice president.

On the other hand, the Bahujan Samaj Party decided on the candidature of over 200 candidates. UP has 403 Assembly seats. "The probable candidates are already campaigning," claimed a party state unit leader in Lucknow.

Confident after its success in the just-concluded urban local bodies poll, the Bharatiya Janata Party is banking on the campaign of top national leaders, including former prime minister and Lucknow MP Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former deputy prime minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president and former UP CM Rajnath Singh.

"The process to identity suitable candidates is on. The tentative list would be out this month, so that they can begin campaigning," said a party general secretary.

The Election Commission and the Uttar Pradesh government, meanwhile, have started gearing up for the Assembly election in the state. A delegation of top state government officials has returned to Lucknow after holding a meeting with the EC in New Delhi.

Issues relating to law and order and the quantum of central forces that UP would require for the democratic exercise were discussed at length.

Although the EC has so far not announced dates, sources in the state government claim a formal announcement could be made by the end of this month.

The first phase of election is likely to be held on April 21 and the process is likely to end by the middle of May 2007. Following pressure by the opposition parties to conduct free and fair poll, the EC might decide holding it in six phases, sources said.

While the initial three phases could be held in April, the remaining could be completed in May. So far, Assembly election in the state were held in three phases.

Although Chief Minister Mulayam Singh had written to the EC requesting to hold the election in February itself, the electoral body was yet to take a final decision on the issue.

Opposition parties have requested the Centre to hold election in UP under President's rule. They have charged the government with distributing gun licences to people with a leaning towards the SP.

Meanwhile, the EC has sought details pertaining to crime and the Naxalite situation from the state government.

Figures on the number of country-made weapon factories and illicit liquor manufacturing units have been sought from the DGP, who was part of the UP delegation which met the EC on Wednesday.

Sources said the EC has also asked for details on the number of criminals on parole and the number of criminals arrested with explosives.

These figures would essentially help the EC chalk out a strategy to deal with anti-social elements, who could help various political parties during the election.

The EC has also sought UP's requirement of Central Para Military Forces during the election. The CPMF units at present deployed in Uttarakhand, Manipur and Punjab on poll duties could be deployed in UP by April.