Phase 6: SP, BSP face tough battle in UP

BJP won nine seats in 2019 including Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Basti, Allahabad, Domariyaganj, Sant Kabir Nagar, Bhadohi, and Machhlishahr…reports Asian Lite News

 With the sixth phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh scheduled to take place on May 26, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) face the onerous task of retaining their seats in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in the state.

BJP won nine seats in 2019 including Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Basti, Allahabad, Domariyaganj, Sant Kabir Nagar, Bhadohi, and Machhlishahr.

The BSP had won four seats – Ambedkar Nagar, Shrawasti, Lalganj and Jaunpur while SP won Azamgarh which it later lost to BJP in a by-election and now face an uphill task to retain this seat in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

The constituencies going to polls in the sixth phase include Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Shrawasti, Basti, Jaunpur, Allahabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Domariyaganj, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lalganj, Azamgarh, Bhadohi, and Machhlishahr.

This time, BJP’s Maneka Gandhi is facing Ram Bhual Nishad of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Udraj Varma of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Maneka has successfully steered her campaign towards local developmental issues and is placed comfortably.

In Pratapgarh, the sitting BJP MP Sangam Lal Gupta is taking on the SP’s Shiv Pal Singh Patel and Prathmesh Mishra of BSP.

The prestigious seat of Allahabad is witnessing a close contest between Neeraj Tripathi of the BJP and Ujjwal Rewati Raman Singh of the Congress.

Neeraj is the son of the former Speaker late Kesri Nath Tripathi and Ujjawal is the son of former MP Reoti Raman Singh, both are working overtime to carry forward their father’s political legacy.

In Ambedkar Nagar, two former BSP leaders are challenging each other, albeit from different parties.

Former BSP MP Ritesh Pandey is contesting on a BJP ticket while Lalji Verma, former leader of the BSP legislature party, is the candidate from the Samajwadi Party.

In Domariyaganj, Jagdambika Pal, sitting BJP MP, is locked in a close contest with Bhishma Shankar Tiwari of the SP and Khwaja Shamsuddin of the BSP.

In Basti, sitting BJP MP Harish Dwiwedi is being challenged by Ram Prasad Chaudhary of SP while in Machhlishahr, BJP MP B P Saroj is seeking his third term and is facing Priya Saroj who is the SP candidate and daughter of former MP Tufani Saroj.

Lalganj features Neelam Sonkar from the BJP and Daroga Saroj representing the SP with a young professor Indu Chaudhary of BSP, making the fight triangular.

It is the Azamgarh seat, a stronghold of the SP with a sizeable Muslim-Yadav electorate, that is witnessing a keen contest between Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’ of the BJP and former MP Dharmendra Yadav.

All top SP leaders have been campaigning for Dharmendra Yadav and are pulling out all stops to ensure his win. Nirahua is banking on the work of the double-engine government to get a second term.

Jaunpur is another seat that is witnessing an interesting contest between former Maharashtra minister Kripa Shankar Singh of the BJP and Babu Singh Kushwaha of the SP. The sitting MP Shyam Singh Yadav is the BSP candidate again.

Mafia don-turned-politician Dhananjay Singh, whose wife Srikala Reddy Singh was denied a BSP ticket at the last moment, is playing the role of a kingmaker in this constituency.

The Trinamool Congress is making its debut in UP politics in this election. Laliteshpati Tripathi is the TMC candidate in Bhadohi. He is the great-grandson of veteran Congress leader, late Kamlapati Tripathi.

He is being challenged by Vinod Kumar Bind from the BJP and Athar Ansari of BSP.

“We are winning all 14 seats in this phase because the voters have consolidated in favour of BJP,” said BJP spokesman Rakesh Tripathi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has campaigned aggressively in this phase, pushing a UP-centric narrative.

“In the election, our country has two models. Modi’s model is focused on “Santushtikaran” (satisfaction) while the SP, Congress and ‘Ghamandiya’ (selfish) model is based on “Tushtikaran” (appeasement). The playbook of the SP and the Congress is dangerous. These people seek votes here, while in south India, their allies abuse and humiliate the people of UP,” PM Modi said in Jaunpur.

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