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'Assembly polls are the semi-finals before 2014 elections'

Last updated on: December 24, 2011 20:38 IST

With the announcement of the dates of the forthcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur, Goa and Uttrakhand, political parties have sharpened their attacks on their rivals in order to score a political advantage and attract voters to their fold.

Bharatiya Janata party leader Rajnath Singh claimed that Congress party's presence in UP polls would be insignificant.

"The people of the state have lost confidence in both the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party and they would vote for a change and make sure the BJP returns to power," Singh told rediff.com.

BJP leaders Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi asserted that the Congress would be defeated in all five states.

"We would go to the people with issues of crime and corruption to highlight the misrule of the Mayawati government. People are sick and tired of (SP chief) Mulayam Singh and Mayawati. The BJP will have an upper hand in the elections. This is a sort of semi-final before the next general elections," Naqvi said.

The BJP is hopeful about winning the elections in Punjab, Goa and Uttrakhand

Uttarakhand Chief Minister B C Khanduri expressed his unhappiness over the poll schedule as the date announced for polling in the state is not conducive to the cold weather.

Certain areas in Uttarakhand, which is going to polls on January 30, will be snowed in and voters would find it difficult to reach polling booths, Khanduri said.

Ajit Singh, Union minister for civil aviation and president of Rashtriya Lok Dal, was hopeful that the Congress and his party would be able to provide a suitable alternative to the people of UP.

"For the last twenty years, Uttar Pradesh has had to face the misrule of Mayawati, Samajwadi party and the BJP. It is time for a change," he said.

When contacted, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari lashed out at BJP leaders for making tall claims.

"When the Election Commission takes up the counting of votes on March 4, BJP leaders would be rubbing their eyes in disbelief like they did after the last round of elections. BJP is living in a world of deception," Tiwari told rediff.com.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi