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UP polls phase 7: Who will reap the harvest?
Sanjay Pandey in Gorakhpur | May 07, 2007 16:06 IST
Will it be Bharatiya Janata Party's firebrand parliamentarian Yogi Adityanath's hardline Hindutva, Bahujan Samaj Party's Brahmin card, Samjawadi Party's tried and tested Muslim-Yadav combination or the 'Rahul Effect' for Congress?
As eastern Uttar Pradesh goes to polls on Tuesday in the seventh and final phase of assembly elections, political watchers are keen to know who will reap the harvest in the acid test in this region that sends 59 members from nine districts to the Vidhan Sabha.
Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP had won at 21 seats in the 2002 assembly polls, closely followed by Mayawati's BSP, which roped in 17 seats. BJP won 10 seats from this region last time while the Congress quota was four. Independents and others won the other seven seats.
The total strength of the assembly is 403 and the counting of votes will be May 11.
A name to reckon with in this region, Yogi Adityanath is the central figure of the BJP here and the party is banking heavily on the 'Chhote Mahant' of 'Goraksh Nath Peeth,' who wields influence over voters in and around this region.
Known for his hardline Hindutva, he had opposed the BJP in the previous polls, which cost the saffron party heavily in this region.
In the Gorakhpur city seat, the then sitting BJP member and minister Shivpratap Shukla lost to Yogi's man, who had contested on the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabaha ticket.
Keeping in view the clout of Yogi in the region, the BJP had to bow down to former's demand to accomodate several of his candidates in its candidates' list in their stand off just before the commencement of the polling process.
Similarly, BSP's 'Brahmin card' will also face a tough test in this phase keeping in view the fact that as many as in 30 seats, the Brahmin voters are in sizeable numbers.
Brahmins are said to hold the key to success in Gorakhpur City, Bansgaon, Dhuriapar, Pharenda, Sahjanwan, Maharajganj, Hatta, Padarauna, Kasayan, Gauribazar, Luxmipur and Siswan among others.
The BJP has fielded Brahmin candidates in about 20 seats while the BSP and SP have given tickets to nine Brahmins in this region. It remains to be seen if the Brahmin card of the BSP succeeds in raising the tally of the party.
The Congress is banking solely on its star campaigner and young parliamentarian Rahul Gandhi, who has campaigned vigorously in the region.
Rahul addressed a series of election rallies in Gorakhpur division while Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also addressed an election meeting at Maharajganj.
For the Samajwadi Party and Chief Minister Yadav addressed over two dozen election rallies in different parts of the division. The SP will be banking on its traditional Muslim-Yadav combination to retain its seats if not get more. Muslims are in sizeable numbers in several seats.
Prominent among those whose fate will be decided in the polls on Tuesday are state ministers Ambika Chaudhary, Sitaram Nishad, Shardanand Anchal and Balram Yadav and several senior leaders of the ruling Samajwadi Party.
Mafia don Mukhtar Ansari, Amar Mani Tripathi, the main accused in the murder of poetess Madhumita Shukla, and don-turned-minister Harishankar Tewari are also in the fray.