The fifth round of seven-phase assembly election in Uttar Pradesh is going to witness an intense battle among major political players in 49 constituencies in 13 central UP and Bundelkhand districts on Thursday.
The stakes are high for Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, as Yadav dominant belt- Etawah, Mainpuri, Etah, Kanshi Ram Nagar, Firozabad, Auraiyya, Rama Bai Nagar (Kanpur Dehat) is poised to play significant role in boosting the party's prospects. Other districts are Kanpur City, Jalaun, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Hamirpur and Mahoba.
Unhappy with SP, the region had voted for BSP (27 seats) in 2007. The SP had finished second with a tally of 14. However the trend was reversed in 2009 Lok Sabha election when the SP won three and BSP could get just one seat.
This phase is also significant for BJP whose chief ministerial candidate Uma Bharti, migrated from MP, is in fray from Charkhari (Mahoba). However former BJP leader Kalyan Singh has been trying to queer the pitch for the saffron brigade in this phase. Kalyan Singh, who was elected to the Lok Sabha with the help of Mulayam Singh in 2009 from Lodh dominated Etah, has been making efforts to protect bastion. The BJP had won six seats in the region in last poll.
The Congress after winning four parliamentary seats in 2009 has also launched massive efforts to enlarge assembly base from four seats in 2007. During the last few years that Congress had been making efforts to widen its base in Bundelkhand. AICC general secretary made repeated forays to the backward Bundelkhand and finally the Congress-led UPA government announced special Rs 6000 crore package for its integrated development.
Among 829 candidates the prominent contestants are leader of Opposition Shivpal SP (Jaswantnagar-Etawah), Raja Bundela Bundelkhand Congress (Jhansi), former minister Satish Mahana, BJP (Maharajpur/Kanpur), Rajit Singh Judeo, Congress (Garautha-Jhansi), former Kanpur Mayor Anil Sharma (Arya Nagar-Kanpur, Abdul Manna Congress (KanpurCantt), Ajay Kapoor Congress (Kidwai Nagar/Kanpur), Uma Bharti, BJP (Charkhari-Mahoba), Badshah Singh BJP (Mahoba), Sanghmitra Maurya, BSP (Aliganj-Etah), Ashok Yadav JDU (Sirsaganj-Firozabad) Sakshi Maharaj BJP (Bhogoan-Kanshiram Nagar).
The chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha told newsmen that tight security arrangements had been made in region where 1.53 crore electors would exercise their franchise. In the past the region especially Etah-Mainpuri areas were known for poll violence.