The stage is set for crucial third phase of polling in the state assembly election in 57 constituencies in Rohalekhand and Farrukhabad region tomorrow. The election commission has put up tight security cordon in ten districts going to polls to ensure free and fair elections.
Talking to newsmen the chief electoral officer AK Bishnoi said that 660 companies of central para-military force had been deployed for the third phase. Moreover 35 companies of PAC and nearly 30,000 civil police would also assist the CPMF in holding peaceful election. Bishnoi said one additional observer in each district had also been sent. He said deputy election commissioner JP Prakash would be making surprise checking by helicopter. Overall third phase observer is chief electoral officer Bihar Sudhir Rakesh.
This phase is quite sensitive because, of the total 859 candidates, 118 contestants had been facing criminal charges. Third phase, falling under north-west part of the state with the total population of 2.42 crore, has 1.51 crore electors. While recognized political parties have fielded 273 candidates, smaller parties have 231 candidates. There are 355 independents and 50 women contestants. The districts falling under third phase are Bijnor, Moradabad, JP Nagar (Amroha), Rampur, Badaun, Bareilly, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur, Farukhabad and Kannauj.
While chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is in the fray from Gunnaur (Badaun) other regional satraps facing the electorates are urban development minister Mohd Azam Khan (Rampur), Nawab Kazim Ali Khan (Swartada), mafiosi turned politician DP Yadav (Sahaswan), his wife Umlesh Yadav (Bisauli), Praveen Aron (Barielly Cantt) and Louis Khurshid (Qaimganj). While largest numbers of 29 candidates are in Amroha, the minimum six contestants are in Gunnaur.
The stakes of the Samajwadi Party are high in this phase, as the party had won 25 seats in the last election. The party has been banking on minority support for repeat performance. Bijnor (13 lakh), Moradabad (17 lakh), Amroha (six lakh), Rampur (nine lakh) Barielly (12 lakh) Shahjahanpur (4.5 lakh) and Badaun (six lakh) are Muslim dominated areas. While the BSP has been trying to improve its tally by Dalit-Muslim combination, the Congress has of late attracted the attention of the people because of the forays of Gandhi family in the region. The BJP has its traditional vote bank.