When titans clash to save their fiefdoms all weapons come out of their armoury. The fifth phase of election portrays somewhat a similar picture albeit with a splash of some scary scenes of diktats from gun-totting outlaws of Bundelkhand who are determined to enter the corridors of power through proxies from Chitrakoot, Banda and Pratapgarh. Not content with merely supporting candidates, the dacoits have fielded their own nominees. Obviously their stakes are high.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s belt may have gun silent after the elimination of dreaded dacoit Nirbhay Gujjar and others, Bundelkhand is still the pocket borough of dacoits Shiv Kumar Patel alias Dadua and Ambika Patel Thokia alias Doctor. No doubt political parties are at their mercy. Perhaps the Election Commission would face its first acid test in conducting a fair and free poll in this region as the two dacoits don't have to threat villagers to favour their nominees. Their message that goes with the word of mouth is sufficient.
However at the political level, the star campaigners former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi would also face tough time to protect their fiefdoms. While the Congress could not perform well in last election in Rae Bareli and Sultanpur, there had been fall in victory margin of Vajpayee in Lok Sabha poll.
The process for fifth phase commenced on Tuesday with notification by Governor TV Rajeswar. The polling in 58 constituencies is spread over in nine districts, which also included Sonia Gandhi bastion Rae Bareli- Amethi and former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s Lucknow parliamentary constituency. The polling will be held on April 28.
While Samajwadi Party has decided to field Dadua’s brother Bal Kumar Patel from Patti (Pratapgarh) and RK Patel from Karvi (Chitrakoot) the Rashtriya Lok Dal, making desperate efforts to find ground in Bundelkhand has nominated Thokia’s mother Piyaria Devi Patel from Naraini (Banda). Dadua’s son Bir Singh is the chairman district panchayat Chitrakoot. With “is baar cycle chalegi diktat” (this time people would vote for cycle) Dadua gang has also issued threats to candidates of rival political parties. The BSP sitting MLA Daddu Prasad, who is contesting from Manikpur (Chitrakoot) has complained to the Election Commission about the threats from Dadua gang. In the last assembly election Dadua had supported to BSP. RK Patel had won from Karvi on BSP ticket in last election. However under the pressure of Dadua he recently defected to SP.
Prominent contestants going to face battle for ballot in this round are leader of Opposition Lalji Tandon, Congress legislature party chief Pramod Tiwari, Ministers Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhayya, Naresh Agarwal, Dr Ashok Bajpai. Of the total 58 seats, the BSP had won 19, BJP 16, SP 14, Congress 4, independents 4 and Lok Janshakti Party one in 2002 assembly election. Thus this phase is crucial for the three main contenders BSP, BJP and SP.