The fatigue of the long-drawn elections has hardly affected the poll-time excitement in Uttar Pradesh.
Of the 14 constituencies going to the polls on Wednesday, Rampur and Pilibhit definitely walked away with the cake for the high-strung drama of a typical masala film that was on offer in these constituencies.
The Rampur show, scripted and directed by Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, has sitting MP Jaya Prada as the lead character and rebel Azam Khan as the villain. Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav appears as a special guest for emotional relief.
But Noor Bano of the Congress and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are silently inching forward.
In Pilibhit, director-actor-scriptwriter Varun Gandhi is now gleefully projecting himself as the new Gabbar Singh. His main opponent is the richest candidate in the state, Congress’ V.M. Singh, his uncle.
This phase will also decide the fates of Congress’ Jitin Prasad in Dhaurahra, cricket star Azharuddin in Moradabad and also the other Gandhi, Menaka, in Aonla.
Of the main players, Mulayam Singh Yadav, for the first time, was found soft in Rampur. At test also is his decision to embrace Kalyan Singh.
Pollsters believe that though Muslims have not yet dumped Mulayam, he is no longer their first choice.
Muslims form 25 per cent of the votes in 11 of the 14 seats going to the polls. In some seats, Muslims hold the veto power with 29 to 45.3 per cent vote share.
Of Mayawati, the pre-first phase perception was that she would end up with 40-45 seats. But by the end of the fourth phase, the projection came down to 20-25 seats.
The Congress party has seemingly benefited from the return of a chunk of Muslim votes, while the BJP is banking on communal turns in several constituencies, adjoining Pilibhit, thanks to Varun Gandhi.