UP polls: Heavyweights fail to light up crucial Mulayam's belt

The turnout of third phase was lower compared to the previous two phases that had logged 63 per cent and 65 per cent respectively in western and Rohilkhand regions. 

Published: 20th February 2017 02:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2017 04:46 AM   |  A+A-

Indian voters show their identity card as they wait in a queue to cast their votes at Muradnagar, in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. Uttar Pradesh and four other Indian states are having state legislature elections in February-Marc

File photo | AP

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: The third phase of UP elections covering 69 constituencies in 12 districts of central region consisting of the strong Yadav-belt, state capital Lucknow and industrial hub Kanpur, witnessed a moderate turnout of 61.16 per cent on Sunday. This is lower compared to the previous two phases that had logged 63 per cent and 65 per cent respectively in western and Rohilkhand regions. 

It was slightly higher than the 59.9 percent witnessed in the 2012 Assembly elections and over 58 per cent seen during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

The district which logged the highest percentage of voting in the third phase on Sunday was Sitapur (68.49 per cent) while Kanpur (Nagar) recorded the lowest voter turnout at 56.42 per cent. Lucknow, which has nine assembly segments, witnessed moderate 58.50 per cent voting. The traditional Yadav belt recorded an average 60.84 percent with Etawah at 60.14 percent, Mainpuri at 59.51 percent and Kannauj at 62.88 per cent.

The third phase, which went largely peaceful barring a few minor scuffles, is likely to have a significant impact on the overall results.SP’s unbeatable lead with 55 seats in this region in the previous Assembly polls was a better performance than that of the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections when the party, riding on the Modi wave, was leading in 52 assembly segments in this region. 

The impact of the bitter battle of nerves in UP’s first family is likely to have a clear bearing on the poll results of this region. The prospects of the ruling party may be affected as the Yadavs in the main three districts of Etawah, Mainpuri and Kannauj seem to be vertically divided with the youth standing by CM Akhilesh Yadav and the elders supporting his father and SP patriarch, Mulayam Singh Yadav and his brother Shivpal who, they feel, have been sidelined in the party.

However, in a bid to mitigate the feud impact and to win over the sulking lot of his native land, Akhilesh went full throttle in the last leg of campaigning addressing seven rallies in Etawah and Mainpuri on Thursday to assure the party’s ‘core voters’ that all was well within the party and the family. Both BJP and BSP, on the other hand, can hardly do worse than the last time, when they had won just five and six seats respectively.  

In fact, the BJP had fielded a large number of strong turncoats in this phase, many of them sitting MLAs of the rival parties, to bolster its chances. Mayawati, after trying to consolidate Muslim votes, was back to wooing Dalits as 19 of 69 seats in this phase are reserved for Scheduled Castes.

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