Uttar Pradesh polls cross halfway mark, parties upbeat about forming next govt
Midway through the seven-round polls, the main parties — the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress alliance, the BJP and the Mayawati’s BSP — are upbeat about forming the next government.india Updated: Feb 22, 2017 15:10 IST
The third phase of polling recorded 61.16% turnout on Sunday as the lengthy and staggered assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh crossed the halfway mark on Sunday — in terms of the number of districts and constituencies that have voted.
The poll percentage was slightly better than the 59.75% registered in 2012.
Midway through the seven-round polls, the main parties — the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress alliance, the BJP and the Mayawati’s BSP — are upbeat about forming the next government.
SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, after casting his vote in Saifai, said the government of his son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has done adequate work to develop the state, and voters have no reason to not choose him again.
The comments were viewed as an endorsement for Akhilesh, who was locked in a bitter power struggle within the Yadav clan and upstaged his father last month to become the SP president.
Aparna Yadav, Mulayam’s younger daughter-in-law, slammed opposition parties for “overplaying” the family crisis. “We are one family. And have come together to vote. Our condition is superb. We will win; there is no reason for us to not win,” she said.
Akhilesh, who was in Saifai to cast his vote, held a similar opinion too about his estranged uncle, Shivpal Singh Yadav, who is contesting from Jaswantnagar. The chief minister said he wished that all SP candidates won the polls.
BSP chief Mayawati and Union home minister Rajnath Singh, along with his family, cast their votes in Lucknow.
Mayawati later told reporters that her party would win over 300 of the 403 seats in the state and she would form the next government.
Not to be left behind, home minister Singh predicted an overwhelming BJP victory. “I am sure BJP is going to get absolute majority,” he said.
This was the most crucial phase for the ruling SP that in 2012 won 55 of the 69 constituencies that voted on Sunday. The seats contain the ruling family’s strongholds — their home districts of Etawah and Mainpuri — and state capital Lucknow.
The voters sealed the fate of several heavyweights, including that of Shivpal, Aparna, Mulayam’s nephew Anurag, Akhilesh aide Anurag Singh, BJP’s Rita Bahuguna Joshi, SP ministers Nitin Agarwal and Abhishek Mishra and BSP’s Nakul Dubey.
After Sunday’s voting 194 assembly segments in 37 districts will be left for polling in the remaining four phases. India’s most populous state has 75 districts.
(With agency inputs)