LUCKNOW: The month-long high-octane campaign for the battle of Lucknow culminated on a fierce note with the major players seen throwing their might to mobilise voters for final 40 seats across seven districts of Purvanchal that goes to polls under seventh phase on March 8.
While PM Narendra Modi made Varanasi his abode for three days and held the party’s fort himself, Akhilesh-Rahul duo was not behind in show of strength. On the contrary, BSP chief Mayawati, away from pomp and show, chose to close her rhetoric by talking to media persons in the final moments of campaign.
While on one hand the PM at his last rally in Rohania in Varanasi on Monday launched a blistering attack on the SP government over law and order situation in the State, accusing it of protecting criminals with gang rape accused minister Gayatri Prajapati already hitting the headlines. On the other, he accused the SP of turning the police stations into party offices, seeking to draw people’s attention towards ‘different mafias who were ruling the roost in UP’.
Moreover, in a well-thought out reference to ‘commissions and cuts’ in jobs, the PM said, “This government has destroyed the future of youth,” adding that the Akhilesh government had been selective and discriminatory while conducting in recruitment drives in the State.
Addressing a rally in Jaunpur, CM Akhilesh Yadav took a dig at PM Modi wondering what made him to stay in Varanasi for three days, deploying the entire battery of Central ministers and BJP top brass for the last phase “when he claims that the BJP has already won the elections and the last two phases are just a bonus," the CM said. Akhilesh himself gave the final push to his party’s prospects by addressing a series of rallies in Purvanchal in the slog hours on Monday.
Earlier, pinning all hopes on east to take his party’s tally touch the magic figure, the PM played all the possible cards up his sleeves. In the morning he embarked upon an unannounced trip leading a Janata Darshan procession to Gadwaghat, a place revered by Yadav community with an ashram having over a crore followers. The PM also went to pay homage to late Prime Minister Lal Bahdur Shastri at his residence in Ramnagar area of Varanasi.
However, closing her campaign formally, BSP chief Mayawati chose to sum up her month-long discourse with a press conference targeting her rivals on all her choicest issues, in State capital Lucknow.
Meanwhile, Congress vice-president and Akhilesh’s new-found ally Rahul Gandhi, who is banking on SP’s oxygen to revive his own political fortunes in UP where his party, otherwise, is gasping for life, in his final address exuded confidence that the SP-Congress alliance would emerge victorious and Akhilesh would get a second term as CM.