3-way fight in Bundelkhand; Cong’s family bastion on test

RSTV Bureau

up-banne5

The stage is set for the fourth phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh, which will be held on Thursday. 53 constituencies in 12 districts, particularly in Bundelkhand region will go to polls, besides assemblies in Rae Bareli – Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s Parliamentary constituency.

Allahabad, Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Fatehpur, Banda, Jalaon, Lalitpur and Pratapgarh are also among the prominent assemblies that will vote on Thursday.

A total of 630 candidates, including 50 women, are in fray in this phase of elections. In the 2012 polls, out of the 53 seats in this phase, Samajwadi Party won 24, BJP 5, BSP 15, Congress 6 and others 3.

The high octane campaign for the fourth phase was particularly marred with controversial remarks by leaders across the political spectrum and in some cases offensive personal jibes. The campaign also saw Priyanka Gandhi taking to the streets for the first time in this election.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeatedly targeted the SP-Congress alliance and the BSP, particularly their leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, respectively. “SCAM stands for SP, Congress, Akhilesh and Mayawati,” Modi said in one of his election rally in Bundelkhand.

He also termed BSP as “Behenji Sampatti Party”, to which Mayawati retorted instantly, saying the initials of Narendra Damodardas Modi stood for “Negative Dalit Man”.

FILE: Allahabad: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra at historical Swaraj Bhawan in Allahabad, Nov 21, 2016. Photo - PTI

FILE: Allahabad: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra at historical Swaraj Bhawan in Allahabad, Nov 21, 2016.
Photo – PTI

“He (Modi) is anti-dalit…this negative dalit man does not like that common people give small contributions in running the BSP movement which is also run through donations,” combative Mayawati said.

But the heat intensified last week, when Modi charged the Akhilesh Yadav government of alleged discrimination in the supply of electricity on the basis of religion.

Reacting to this, Akhilesh asked Modi to “check” in his own Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi if any discrimination had been meted out by the state government.

Meanwhile, in their family bastion of Rae Bareli, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka campaigned for the party candidate 29-year-old Aditi Singh.

While Rahul has been campaigning for the SP-Congress alliance throughout the state, Priyanka in her maiden visit appealed to voters to choose Aditi and had also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his “adopted son” remark.

Aditi, a management degree holder from North Duke University, North Carolina, is a daughter of former Congress leader and a local heavyweight politician Akhilesh Pratap Singh.