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Sunday, May 3, 2009

UP: Petty issues, voters' restlessness palpable

In the absence of national issues, it's petty issues that have surfaced in the third phase. This is a gross failure of two national parties, BJP and Congress. The ground reality is that there is terrible restlessness amongst the voters in UP.

CJ: Arindam Roy, 2 days ago Views:478 Comments:0

AS MAYAWATI is addressing an election rally in Mathura, polling is in progress in15 parliamentary constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, in the third phase, on Thursday (April 30), at the time of filing this report. The UP chief minister is busy campaigning for the fourth phase.

At the time of filing this report, the poll percentage in these constituencies was 15 per cent, till 11am. In these constituencies, 256 candidates are in fray. The total number of voters are 2.25 crore in these 15 seats. In 15,000 polling stations, over 28,000 EVMs will try the fate of the candidates.

The 15 constituencies are: Rae Bareli, Lucknow, Mohanlalganj, Unnao, Kanpur, Fatehpur, Mishrikh, Hardoi, Sitapur, Akbarpur, Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Barabanki and Bhairaich.

In the absence of national issues, it’s petty issues that have surfaced in the third phase. This is being seen as a gross failure of the two national parties, BJP and Congress, in UP. The ground reality is that there is terrible restlessness amongst the voters. But, politicians failed to capitalise it. The low turnout of voters is, in fact, a rejection by the body polity in this state, political observers opined.

Taposhi Sen, a school teacher from Lucknow is a little sad. With Atal Bihari Vajpayee not contesting from the state capital, having chosen to retire from active poll politics, it is no longer the star constituency that it used to be. Anukriti Joshi and Sanjay Verma, two first time voters of Lucknow felt that though the Samajwadi Party (SP) tried to bring colour by fielding cine actor Sanjay Dutt initially and later replacing him with Nafisa Ali, Vajpayee’s charisma is being missed by most.

The absence of national issues has exposed the bankruptcy of the political parties. They are more concerned with poll arithmetic and caste composition of these constituencies. The voters, on their part, are focusing developmental issues at local levels. This too has contributed in a low voter turnout.

Three villages of Mishrikh have decided to boycott the polling, as there has been no development in their villages. Roads, power, water have emerged as the central issue for them.

In a telephonic talk, Gaurav Singh, a businessman, from Kanpur, stated, “You can replace one political party with the other. The Congress and the BJP are busy accusing each other. The SP and BSP are no better. SP was rejected by people as it had fielded many criminals and now BSP too has repeated the same. For all political parties, its booth management that is more important than political ideology. In fact, there is acute lack of ideology.”

The saddest thing is that political think tanks of all parties have been pushed into oblivion, stated a senior BJP leader, off the record. He added that is the reason why goons and mafias are more important. They can perhaps manage booths better.

Few constituencies to watch would be Rae Bareli. Sonia Gandhi is sure to win from here. Former PM VP Singh’s son, Ajeya Singh, is contesting from Fatehpur on Jan Morcha ticket. Rita Bhauguna Joshi is no trying her luck from Lucknow, after an unsuccessful attempt on Congress ticket, from Allahabad, in 1999.

The contest in Lucknow is interesting as Nafisa Ali (SP) and Lalji Tandon (BJP) are challenging Akhilesh Das Gupta, the sitting MP of Congress, who switched over to BSP. A four-cornered tussle is on in the state capital.

In all other constituencies, it will be anything from three-cornered to five-cornered contests. Any prediction is therefore difficult. However, the restlessness of UP voters may be reflected in the final results, political pundits feel.

Constituencies and candidates:

Rae Bareli: Sonia Gandhi (Congress), RS Kushwaha (BSP) and RB Singh (BJP)

Lucknow: Nafisa Ali (SP), Rita Bahuguna Joshi (Congress), Lalji Tandon (BJP) and Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta (BSP)

Mohanlalganj: Sushila Saroj (SP), RK Chaudhury (RSP), Rajnan Kumar Choudhary (BJP) and Jai Prakash (BSP)

Unnao: Deepak Kumar (SP), Annu Tandon (Congress), Ramesh Kumar Singh (BJP), Arun Shankar Shukla (BSP) and Umesh Chandra (Apna Dal)

Kanpur: Surendra Mohan Agarwal (SP), Sriprakash Jaiswal (Congress), Satish Mahana (BJP) and Sukhda Mishra (BSP)

Fatehpur: Rakesh Sachan (SP), Vibhakar Shastri (Congress), Shyam Gupta (BJP), Mahendra Pratap Nishad (BSP) and Ajeya Singh (Jan Morcha)

Mishrikh: Shyam Prakash (SP), Om Prakash (Congress), Anil Kumar (BJP) and Ashok Kumar Rawat (BSP)

Hardoi: Usha Verma (SP), Purnima Verma (BJP) and Ram Kumar Kuril (BSP)

Sitapur: Mahendra Singh Verma (SP), Ram Lal Rahi (Congress), Gyan Tiwari (BJP) and Qaisar Jehan (BSP)

Akbarpur: Kamlesh Pathak (SP), Rajaram Pal (Congress), Arun Kumar (BJP) and Anil Shukla Varsi (BSP)

Jalaun: Ghanshyam Anuragi (SP), Dr Baburamdhin Ahirwar (Congress), Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma (BJP) and Tilak Chandra Ahirwar (BSP)

Jhansi: Chandrapal Singh Yadav (SP), Pradeep Kumar Jain (Congress), Ravindra Shukla (BJP) and Ramesh Kumar Sharma (BSP)

Hamirpur: Ashok Kumar Singh Chandel (SP), Siddha Gopal Sahu (Congress), Pritam Singh Lodhi (BJP) and Vijay Bahadur Singh (BSP)

Barabanki: Ram Sagar (SP), PL Punia (Congress) Ram Naresh Rawat (BJP) and Kamla Prasad Rawat (BSP)

Bhairaich: Shabeer Ahmad (SP), Kamal Kishore (Congress), Akshaybar Lal (BJP) and Lalmani Prasad (BSP)


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