Polling in 49 Uttar Pradesh Assembly seats in the sixth phase, with SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Azamgarh being in focus, started today amidst tight security arrangements.
Assembly segments of Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency of firebrand BJP leader Yogi Adityanath, and Mau, where jailed gangster-turned-MLA Mukhtar Ansari is in fray, also figure in this penultimate phase of polling that will also cover some districts bordering Nepal.
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Around 1.72 crore voters, including 94.60 lakh men and 77.84 lakh women, are eligible to cast their votes in this round to decide the fate of 635 candidates including 63 women.
The districts where polling is going on in the sixth phase are Mau, Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Deoria, Azamgarh and Ballia.
Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency has 10 assembly seats, of which SP had won nine in 2012, but this time Mulayam has not addressed a single meeting in his parliamentary constituency.
The prestige of Union minister Kalraj Mishra, who represents Deoria in the Lok Sabha, too is at stake, besides that of Adityanath.
BJP is contesting 45 seats and its ally Apna Dal one.
Another BJP partner Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party is contesting 3 seats. While BSP has fielded candidates on all 49 seats, SP is contesting 40 seats and Congress 9 seats under an alliance.
Prominent candidates in this phase include BSP turncoat Swami Prasad Maurya from Padrauna (Kushinagar), former BJP state president Surya Pratap Shahi from Pathardeva (Deoria), Shyam Bahadur Yadav (SP), son of former Governor Ram Naresh Yadav from Fulpur Pawai (Azamgarh), SP turncoats Ambika Chowhdury and Narad Rai, who are contesting on BSP ticket from Fefna (Ballia) and Ballia Sadar.
Mukhtar is contesting from Mau and his son Abbas is in fray from adjoining Ghosi seat in Mau district.