Poorvanchal airspace choked in last phase of polls
With no-holds-barred battle for the remaining 59 seats in nine districts, SP, BSP, BJP and Congress have mobilized all their resources to pull the rug from under each other’s feet, reports Masoodul Hasan.Updated: May 04, 2007 23:04 IST
(helicopters) have virtually choked Poorvanchal airspace with leaders from all political parties having laid a siege of the region in the crucial last phase of polling on May 8.
With no-holds-barred battle for the remaining 59 seats in nine districts, Samajwadi Party, BSP, BJP and Congress have mobilized all their resources to pull the rug from under each other’s feet. If the BJP has planned nearly 350 public meetings in the next three days, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has been addressing nearly a dozen rallies everyday.
In a highly caste and communal ridden region, basic issues affecting people have been pushed under the carpet. "The parties are simply trying out their caste arithmetic to outbid each other," says Gorakhpur based businessman Rajesh Singh. While the BJP has been trying to cash in on its MP Yogi Adityanath's religious influence in the region, BSP's Mayawati has been making efforts to further whip up anti-incumbency by her "Mulayam and Amar will go to jail" harangue. She promises to end Mulayam's
and restore law and order in the state.
Yadav on the other hand is talking about his government's achievements. If in the last Lok Sabha elections his party had asked for people's support to make him the country's Prime Minister, this time they are seeking a protective cover for the family. At his public meetings a highly emotional Yadav has been telling the voters that the Congress would send him, his son and brothers behind bars if he was voted out. "
Mere MLA ki galti ki saza mujhe mat dena"
(don't punish me for the mistakes of my MLAs), Yadav told a series of meetings on Thursday.
With the anti-incumbency factor working against his party, Yadav has been trying to evoke people's sympathy on "Congress versus Mulayam" slogan. Interestingly, he prefers not to target Mayawati.
While exit polls, conducted by electronic media, projected BSP as the front runner, the party has been solely banking on Mayawati to further improve its final tally. Apart from Mulayam, a battery of star party campaigners including Jaya Prada and Jaya Bachchan, Amar Singh, Akhilesh Yadav, Azam Khan and Raghuraj Pratap Singh are extensively campaigning for the SP.
The BJP has drafted senior party leaders from LK Advani, Rajnath Singh to Smriti Irani to whip up frenzy. The BJP has been attacking Mayawati for "selling party tickets" and Mulayam for failing to maintain law and order in the state.
"From Mayawati's jail threat to SP leaders to BJP's Hindutva slogan, the region has been facing one of the toughest elections," commented President Gorakhpur Teachers' Association Chitaranjan Mishra.
While Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has been vigorously campaigning other Congress leaders Salman Khurshid, Pramod Tiwari, Mohsina Kidwai, Mahavir Prasad, Akbar Ahmad Dumpy and others have trying to woo voters in a politically difficult terrain for the party.
However with criminal-turned politicians infesting the constituencies, there appears to be hardly any choice for voters. "Of the total 934 candidates in the last phase 162 have a criminal background. Of these 87 have been fielded by four major political parties," says UP Election Watch (UPEW).
"You never know, criminals will be there in the Assembly this time too but with changed party affiliations," remarked UPEW spokesman Pawan Rana.