Campaigning ends for 8 west UP seats going to polls in phase 1 - Hindustan Times
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Campaigning ends for 8 west UP seats going to polls in phase 1

ByS Raju
Apr 17, 2024 09:18 PM IST

Twelve candidates are in fray from Moradabad, 14 from Kairana, 11 each from Muzaffarnagar and Bijnor, 10 each from Saharanpur and Pilibhit, and six candidates each from Nagina and Rampur

MEERUT After witnessing pressers, road shows, rallies, allegations and counter-allegations, campaigning in the eight Lok Sabha constituencies of west UP, which go to polls on Friday, concluded on Wednesday evening.

The constituencies that go to polls in the first phase include Kairana, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Nagina, Rampur, Moradabad and Pilibhit where BJP has teamed up with RLD while Congress and Samajwadi Party are together in an alliance. (Pic for representation)
The constituencies that go to polls in the first phase include Kairana, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Nagina, Rampur, Moradabad and Pilibhit where BJP has teamed up with RLD while Congress and Samajwadi Party are together in an alliance. (Pic for representation)

According to the Election Commission, 1.43 crore people were eligible to cast their votes in the first phase. These include 76.23 lakh males, 67.14 lakh females and 824 transgenders.

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Twelve candidates are in the fray from Moradabad, 14 from Kairana, 11 each from Muzaffarnagar and Bijnor, 10 each from Saharanpur and Pilibhit, and six candidates each from Nagina and Rampur.

The constituencies that go to polls in the first phase include Kairana, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Nagina, Rampur, Moradabad and Pilibhit where BJP has teamed up with RLD while Congress and Samajwadi Party are together in an alliance. Thus, the performance of these alliances would also be of much interest. The BSP has decided to go solo.

Of the eight seats in the 2019 elections, BJP had bagged Muzaffarnagar, Kairana and Pilibhit, the SP got Moradabad and Rampur, and the BSP Saharanpur, Nagina, and Bijnor. Later, in a by-election, BJP wrested back Rampur.

Thus, the results in this phase of polls would also pave way for the alliance candidates.

For the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the campaign along with chief minister Yogi Adityanath, defence minister Rajnath Singh, union home minister Amit Shah, deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak.

RLD chief Jayant Choudhary also held several rallies in west UP constituencies, which are part of the ‘Jat land’ - RLD’s core voter base.

Former chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati led the campaign for their respective parties while Congress leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi held pressers and road shows to drum up support for their candidates.

The BJP’s campaign pitch focused on law and order, construction of Ram temple, abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, triple talaq and strong governance while opposition leaders flagged issues of unemployment, inflation, Agniveer scheme, farmers’ plight and electoral bonds.

The stage is set for a three-cornered contest between the BJP-led NDA, Samajwadi Party, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Chief electoral officer Navdeep Rinwa said no campaign related activities by candidates is allowed in these eight constituencies now. The presence of workers of all political parties has also been restricted, he said.

Political experts believe that the outcome of the first phase would also be a test for INDIA bloc as all these seats have 35 to 40% Muslim voters and chances of opposition alliance would improve if its candidates manage to attract Dalit and OBC votes too. It is in this phase that the opposition flagged issues of alleged unrest among Rajputs, Saini, Tyagi and Pal communities in the region though BJP strategists are confident about victory of their candidates on these eight seats.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already addressed rallies in Meerut and Pilibhit, while UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has addressed more than 20 rallies in these seats.

BSP president Mayawati and her nephew Akash Anand have addressed several election meetings canvassing for party candidates.

Akhilesh Yadav addressed rallies in Pilibhit, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad, and Nagina.

Prominent candidates in this phase are Jitin Prasada from Pilibhit, Union minister Sanjeev Balyan from Muzaffarnagar, and Azad Samaj Party chief Chandra Shekhar Azad from Nagina.

SP’s Muslim face in Rampur, Azam Khan, is conspicuous by his absence in the constituency as he is currently lodged in jail in Sitapur. Input from agency

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