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All eyes on UP’s final phase as PM Modi seeks third term from Varanasi

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All eyes on UP’s final phase as PM Modi seeks third term from Varanasi

Lucknow, May 31 (IANS) The stakes are high for the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh and the eyes of the entire nation will be fixed on this phase as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks a third term from Varanasi.

There is no guessing who will emerge as the winner from this high-profile constituency. The campaign in the constituency has been marked by the presence of over a dozen union ministers, NDA alliance leaders and the well-wishers of the Prime Minister, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani.

Another constituency in the state which is grabbing eyeballs is Gorakhpur, the hometown of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Though the BJP candidate in Gorakhpur is actor-politician Ravi Kishan, it is the prestige of Yogi Adityanath which is at stake. The Chief Minister himself has actively campaigned in the constituency.

In the seventh phase, polling will be held in 13 Lok Sabha constituencies including Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Bansgaon (SC), Ghosi, Salempur, Ballia, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Robertsganj (SC).

A total of 144 candidates are in the fray in the seventh phase, according to Chief Election Officer Navdeep Rinwa.

The two BJP allies who will be on test in the final phase are the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaja Party (SBSP) and Apna Dal (S).

The SBSP is contesting the Ghosi seat as a BJP ally and SBSP Chief Om Prakash Rajbhar has fielded his son Arvind Rajbhar. The SBSP performance in Ghosi will determine the kind of influence that SBSP claims to wield on the Rajbhar community.

Apna Dal (S), President and union minister Anupriya Patel is seeking her third term from Mirzapur. A statement made by her against erstwhile Rajas, in particular reference to Jansatta Dal chief Raja Bhaiyya, has irked the Thakur community, making the road to victory tough for Anupriya Patel.

Other key candidates in the fray include Union Minister for Heavy Industries Mahendra Nath Pandey in Chandauli and Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary in Maharajganj.

The fate of political heirs will also be decided in the seventh phase. They include Neeraj Shekhar son of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar. Neeraj Shekhar is contesting the Ballia Lok Sabha seat on the BJP ticket.

Apart from Arvind Rajbhar of SBSP, Ajai Pratap Singh a.k.a. Pintu Sainthwar, son of former MLA Janmejay Singh, is contesting on the SP ticket in Kushinagar. Shashank Mani Tripathi, son of BJP leader Prakash Mani Tripathi, is contesting the Deoria seat on the BJP ticket.

Among the INDIA bloc candidates, Uttar Pradesh Congress President Ajay Rai is contesting in Varanasi, Congress National Spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap Singh in Deoria, Afzal Ansari, brother of gangster-turned-politician the late Mukhtar Ansari, in Ghazipur on the SP ticket and Bhojpuri film actress Kajal Nishad (SP) in Gorakhpur.

The BJP faces a challenge from the INDIA bloc to retain the seats it won in 2019.

The BJP had bagged nine of these 13 seats while its ally Apna Dal (S) won two seats. The BSP bagged two seats.

The seventh phase has 2,50,56,877 voters including 1,33,10,897 men, 1,17,44,922 women and 1058 third gender voters.

The Chief Electoral Officer Navdeep Rinwa said that adequate preparations have been made for free, fair and peaceful polling and district election officers have been directed to ensure that there are no glitches at polling booths.

Rinwa said that the officials have been also instructed to provide necessary facilities to the voters and polling personnel at the booths. The polling parties have been provided medical kits to protect themselves from heat stroke.




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