Lucknow : Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s Lok Sabha seat Lucknow and SP strongholds Kannauj, Mainpuri and Etawah will be among 69 assembly constituencies that will witness voting today in the third phase of the UP polls.
Over 2.4 crore people are eligible to decide the fate of 826 candidates in the fray, preparations for which has been completed.
Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Kanpur, Unnao, Barabanki and Sitapur are among the 12 districts where these Assembly seats are spread over.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s Lok Sabha constituency Lucknow, and Samajwadi Party’s strongholds – Kannauj, Mainpuri and Etawah – also figure in this round. Etawah is the native place of SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, while another key district is Mainpuri, from where Tej Pratap Yadav is an SP MP. From Kannauj Dimple Yadav, wife of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is an MP.
In the 2012 Assembly polls, SP had won 55 of these 69 seats, while BSP, BJP and Congress secured just six, five and two respectively. One seat went to an Independent.
A total of 826 candidates are in fray, whose fate will be decided by 2.41 crore voters, including 1.10 crore women and 1,026 belonging to third gender category. While the maximum number of 21 candidates are in Etawah, minimum of three candidates are in Haidergarh (Barabanki). Lucknow West and Central have 17 candidates each.
Voting will take place in 25,603 polling booths in this phase.
Prominent among those whose prestige will be at stake is Nitin Agarwal, son of SP leader Naresh Agarwal, BSP turncoat Brijesh Pathak from Lucknow (Central) on BJP ticket and Congress turncoat Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Lucknow Cantt, who is pitted against Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aparna.
SP leader Shivpal too is a key figure in this round. He is contesting from Jaswant Nagar seat. Congress leader P L Punia’s son Tanuj Punia is trying his luck from Jaidpur seat in Barabanki.
While Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah led the saffron brigade, Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati criss-crossed the constituencies where the stakes of their party are high. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was in the vanguard, slamming Modi for his note ban decision and accusing him of betraying people with his ‘achchey din’ promise.
The next four phases of polling will be held on February 23, 27 and on March 4 and 8. Counting of votes will take place on March 11.—PTI