UP polls: Battle of turncoats in Amethi makes contest interesting

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Representational image | Photo: PTI

Amethi (Uttar Pradesh): Once considered as a bastion of Congress, the Amethi Assembly constituency in Uttar Pradesh, is witnessing a triangular electoral contest and with many turncoats in the fray, the battle has become more interesting.

The Amethi seat will vote in the fifth phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls on February 27.

Notably, in the last Assembly elections in 2017, the seat was bagged by the BJP. BJP's Garima Singh defeated Samajwadi Party's (SP) Gayatri Prasad with a margin of more than 5,000 votes in the last elections. However, the ruling party in the state denied the ticket to Garima Singh this time and fielded her husband Sanjay Sinh.

Sanjay Sinh's first wife and sitting MLA Garima Singh and his second wife Amita Singh, who after an unsuccessful stint as a Congress candidate joined the BJP were in the race for the tickets from the BJP.

On the other hand, the SP has fielded Prajapati's wife Maharaji Prajapati after the SP leader was imprisoned in a gang-rape case in November last year. Congress nominated BJP turncoat Ashish Shukla against Sanjay Sinh who is also a former Congress MP and had given up his Rajya Sabha seat to join BJP in 2019.

Ashish Shukla had served as a minister during the Bahujan Samaj Party's government. Later he tried his luck with BJP before settling for Congress.

BSP supremo nominated Ragini Tiwari whereas the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) pitted Anurag from the Amethi Assembly seat.

Amethi consists of four tehsils, 13 blocks. According to the district's official site, Amethi has 1,000 villages with a population of 18,67,678.

Before losing to BJP's Smriti Irani in the 2019 general elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi represented the Amethi Lok Sabha seat for four terms. In the past, the seat was held by Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.

Despite being represented by VIPs in the past and present, Amethi still lacks facilities like a developed district. There are four assembly constituencies under Amethi district i.e. Gauriganj, Tiloi, Jagdishpur (Reserved) and Amethi. Out of these, the BJP had won three seats in 2017, while the SP had won one seat from Gauriganj.

BJP has repeated its winning candidates from Tiloi and Jagdishpur seats-- Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh and Suresh Kumar Pishi.

SP also gave chance to its winning candidate Rakesh Pratap Singh from Gauriganj against BJP's Chandra Prakash Mishra Matiyari, BSP's Ramlakhan Shukla and Congress's Fateh Bahadur.

In 2017, BJP's Umashankar Pandey lost to Rakesh Pratap Singh from Gauriganj.

In the Amethi district, the number of total electors is 14,27,384 whereas the total number of candidates in the fray are 48.

Polling for four phases has concluded and voting for the remaining three phases will take place on February 27, March 3 and 7. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.

In the 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party bagged 312 seats out of the 403-seat Uttar Pradesh Assembly while Samajwadi Party (SP) bagged 47 seats, Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) won 19 and Congress could manage to win only seven seats. The rest of the seats were bagged by other candidates. (ANI)

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