- As many as 627 candidates are in fray in third phase of UP polls
- A total of 1,304 candidates, including 93 women, are in fray in Punjab
- Polling will begin at 7 am on Sunday and continue till 6 in the evening
Campaigning for the third phase of the UP Assembly polls ended on Friday, with senior leaders of all parties making the last-ditch attempt to woo voters in 59 constituencies spread across 16 districts. As many as 627 candidates are in the fray in the third phase, in which over 2.15 crore people are eligible to vote.
The districts where polling will be held are Hathras, Firozabad, Etah, Kasganj, Mainpuri, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Etawah, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Kanpur Nagar, Jalaun, Jhanshi, Lalitpur, Hamirpur and Mahoba. The Karhal Assembly seat, from where Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav is contesting, will also go to the polls in this phase on Sunday. The BJP has fielded Union minister S P Singh Baghel from the seat.
The polling on Sunday will also seal the fate of the Samajwadi Party chief’s uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, who is contesting from his traditional Jaswantnagar seat. In the run-up to the polling for the third phase, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra undertook a door-to-door campaigning in Kanpur, Kalpi, Jalaun and Hamirpur while Mayawati addressed election meetings in Jalaun and Auraiya. SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav sought votes for his son in Karhal. The BJP had approached the Election Commission, seeking deployment of paramilitary forces at all booths in Karhal. Among the prominent faces in the fray in this phase are BJP’s Satish Mahana (Maharajpur in Kanpur) and Ramvir Upadhaya (Sadabad in Hathras), and Louis Khurshid, who is contesting on the Congress ticket from Farrukhabad Sadar. Former IPS officer Asim Arun is contesting from Kannauj Sadar on the BJP ticket while UP minister Ramnaresh Agnihotri is also in the fray in this phase. In the 2017 elections, the BJP had won 49 of the 59 seats while the SP settled for nine. The Congress got one seat and the Bahujan Samaj Party drew a blank. The polling will begin at 7 am on Sunday and continue till 6 in the evening.
Campaigning for the 117 Assembly seats of Punjab also came to an end even as political parties made last-minute efforts to mobilise support for their candidates ahead of the February 20 elections. The Congress released its manifesto earlier in the day, promising financial assistance for women, one lakh government jobs and creation of corporations for the sale of liquor and sand mining if it returns to power in the state.
Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia took out road shows in Bhadaur, Jalalabad, Raikot and Amritsar, respectively. Former chief minister Amarinder Singh and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took out a road show in Patiala. Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and SAD president Sukhbir Badal also campaigned on the last day. A total of 1,304 candidates, including 93 women, are in the fray in the state. The voting will take place from 8 am till 6 pm, said Punjab Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju. The Election Commission had earlier postponed the date of voting for the Assembly polls from February 14 to February 20 in the wake of Guru Ravidas Jayanti.
Among the prominent candidates in the elections are chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Aam Aadmi Party’s CM face Bhagwant Mann, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, former CMs Amarinder Singh and Parkash Singh Badal, and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal. Channi is contesting from two seats, Chamkaur Sahib in Rupnagar and Bhadaur in Barnala. AAP’s Mann is contesting from Dhuri, which is part of the Sangrur parliamentary constituency, from where he is a two-time MP. Sidhu is locked in a keenly watched contest with Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia from Amritsar East seat.