Campaigning for 2nd phase of UP Assembly polls ends; voting on Monday

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Samajwadi Party (SP) supporters hold party's flags during a public meeting of SP President Akhilesh Yadav, ahead of the second phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, at Loda Baheri village in Budaun, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. | PTI Photo

Lucknow: The high-decibel campaigning for 55 Uttar Pradesh Assembly seats which are going to the polls in the second of the seven-phase election on February 14 came to an end on Saturday evening as senior leaders made a last-minute campaign for their party candidates.

As many as 586 candidates are in the fray in this phase with the seats spread across nine districts of Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Amroha, Budaun, Bareilly and Shahjahanpur.

Polling will be held on Monday from 7 am to 6 pm, the election office here said.

The areas going to polls in this phase have a sizeable Muslim population influenced by religious leaders of the Barelvi and Deoband sects. These areas are considered to be the stronghold of the Samajwadi Party.

The prominent faces in the fray in this phase include senior Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Azam Khan, Dharam Singh Saini, a Yogi Adityanath government minister who switched to SP after the polls were declared, and Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Suresh Khanna.

Azam Khan has been fielded from his stronghold Rampur seat, Khanna has been fielded from Shahjahanpur, while Saini is trying his luck from the Nakud Assembly segment.

Khan's son Abdullah Azam has been fielded from the Swar seat. He has been pitted against Haider Ali Khan, the heir of another political family, the Nawabs of Rampur, who is trying in luck on the ticket of Apna Dal Sonelal, a BJP ally.

Haider Ali Khan is the grandson of former MP Noor Bano.

Outgoing Minister of State for Jal Shakti Baldev Singh Aulakh is the candidate from Bilaspur, Minister of State for Urban Development Mahesh Chandra Gupta from Badaun, and Minister of State for Secondary Education Gulab Devi from Chandausi.

The former mayor of Bareilly Supriya Aron is contesting from Bareilly Cantonment after joining the Samajwadi Party.

Of the 55 seats going to polls in this phase, the BJP had won 38 in 2017, while the Samajwadi Party had bagged 15 and the Congress two. The SP and the Congress had contested the last Assembly election in an alliance.

Of the 15 seats won by the SP, Muslim candidates emerged victorious in 10.

Campaigning for the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attacked the main opposition Samajwadi Party while elaborating on why his party's government was necessary in the state to keep it riot-free.

He had also spoken about the legislation against triple talaq.

"Now these mafiawadis' (supporters of the mafia) have made the big culprit of the Saharanpur riots their partner in this election. It is not just about Saharanpur. In the entire western Uttar Pradesh, these people have selectively fielded criminals. These people are even making anti-nationals their proposers," Modi had said.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav-leading his party's took a swipe at the state government that "Azam Khan is in jail for building university, son of a Union minister is out of jail" in the case of running over farmers.

This is the "new India of the BJP", he had said mockingly.

BSP supremo Mayawati had alleged that its government ended the Jatav-Muslim brotherhood in western Uttar Pradesh. Congress' Priyanka Gandhi held 'jan sampark' events in Moradabad, Rampur and other places and focused her campaign on women welfare.

With the elections being held amid the Covid scare, Additional Chief Electoral Officer Brahmdev Ram Tripathi said all necessary arrangements have been made to ensure free, fair, transparent and Covid-safe polling.


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