The month-long elections in Uttar Pradesh has concluded and Election Commission officials on Saturday will begin counting votes. With a few hours to go before counting starts.
Here are the 10 stories from HT correspondents on UP Elections.
1) Did ‘Netaji’ Mulayam script drama to give his son control of the party?
In this game of one-upmanship, Akhilesh received overwhelming public support. But what raised eyebrows is the support he got from the MLAs and ministers. Could that have been possible without Mulayam’s covert support? How come none of the elected family members reached party office to attend a meeting called by Mulayam Singh? Of late, second generation leaders have been spotted more at Akhilesh’s functions.
2) Akhilesh snatches party from father Mulayam, declared SP president
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav appeared to snatch control of the Samajwadi Party from the old guard on as a meet called by his camp elected him as party chief, replacing father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The dramatic event came barely a day after Mulayam revoked Akhilesh’s suspension in the party following a groundswell of support for the young leader and intense media scrutiny.
3) 15 defeats in elections and counting: Why UP’s Phakkad Baba won’t quit
He is 73 years old and gives sermons every evening to scores of disciples at one of the oldest temples in Uttar Pradesh’s holy town of Mathura.But this holy man is unlike any other. Phakkad Baba, as he is popularly known, says he has fought in 15 state and general elections in the past four decades.
4) Dimple 2.0: Evolution of a bahu into a star campaigner
Dimple, 39, wasn’t just the top woman campaigner, leaving former CM and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati behind in election tours and rallies. She also took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and turned Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah’s metaphorical ‘Kasab’, an acronym for the Hindi pronunciation of Congress-SP-BSP, on its head.
Elections are a costly affair, but 25-year-old Vandana Sharma stands out as a candidate with a difference. At the time of filing her nomination papers as an independent candidate, she dipped into her savings that she had built up from her pocket money to make a security deposit of Rs 10,000.
5) Like Father, Unlike Son: Shooting star Abbas Ansari wants to salvage family name
The father is accused of pulling the gun on people; the son is applauded for shooting skits at international competitions and bringing glory to the nation.The contrast wasn’t lost as jailed -politician Mukhtar Ansari’s 25-year-old son, Abbas Ansari, a four-time national shooting champion, plunged into electoral politics to salvage the tarnished family name.
6) Reel life of UP’s ex-bandit queen: Seema Parihar bites the bullet, helps ballot
Former dacoit Seema Parihar, the symbol of terror in the once-notorious Chambal region, has a new role to pay: urging people to vote in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
Parihar allegedly abducted nearly 200 people during her days in the badlands which ended in 2000 after she surrendered to the Uttar Pradesh police. She was in prison for a few years after being charged with eight counts of murder and half-a-dozen incidents of kidnapping.
7) Guns and politics: UP polls peak time for hitmen, arms and liquor smugglers
Despite steps to keep the politics clean, all is not well in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.Or what else could explain the emergence of contract killers, weapon suppliers and liquor/narcotic smugglers during the last two months.
To keep a check on the activities of jailed criminals the election commission has directed the state government to strictly implement the ban on use of mobile phones by undertrials.
8) UP election: 6th phase has maximum ‘bahubalis’ candidates including BSP’s Mukhtar Ansari
All political parties seem to be banking on ‘bahubalis’ to script victory in eastern Uttar Pradesh in the 6th phase of polling scheduled on March 4.There are 126 ‘criminals’ in the fray for the penultimate phase in the Purvanchal (eastern) region of UP.
9) Twin villages in Uttar Pradesh adopted by PM Modi seek more attention
Jayapur is one of the two villages adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna in 2014. Nagepur, about two kilometres away, is the other village adopted by him in 2016. The ‘twin’ adoptions raised hopes, pushing the villages into the development spotlight. But not all hopes have come to fruition, the locals say. Here’s a look at the ground reality.
10 ) UP election: How campaigning turned bitter with every phase of polling
Desperation of all major players, including the BJP, grew with every phase in the first-ever triangular contest in the state. Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav had Dimple Yadav joining the road show for the first time in the entire poll season.
Call it the demonetisation effect, the campaigning remained a low-key affair till it touched the third phase of elections. Thereafter, with every phase the tone grew shriller as campaigning reached its crescendo by the time it reached the last two phases that covered prime constituencies of veteran leaders like Narendra Modi and Mulayam Singh Yadav.
For more stories on Uttar Pradesh elections, click here.