Voting for 58 seats in the first phase in UP on Thursday: Seal on the fate of 9 ministers; Jat belt in focus

Voters will decide the electoral fate of nine ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government. The ministers are Shrikant Sharma from Mathura, Atul Garg from Ghaziabad, Suresh Rana from Thana Bhawan, Kapil Dev Agarwal from Muzaffarnagar and Sandeep Singh from Atrauli. Other ministers include Laxminarayan Choudhary from Chhata, Anil Sharma from Shikarpur, GS Dharmesh from Agra Cantt. and Dinesh Khatik from Hastinapur.

Other prominent names are Baby Rani Maurya, former governor of Uttarakhand from Agra Rural, Pankaj Singh, Uttar Pradesh BJP vice president from Noida and Mriganka Singh from Kairana.

623 candidates are in the fray in the first phase and around 2.27 crore people are eligible to vote in this phase.

It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who allowed the BJP’s campaign to run in the state and advocated a double-engined government for rapid development, attacking the Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) alliance.

In their speeches, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath tried to shed light again on the alleged “exodus” of Hindus from Kairana before 2017. On the other hand, SP President Akhilesh Yadav claimed that people are not clear about this. Voting for the ruling BJP this time.

With their SP-RLD alliance, Akhilesh Yadav and Jayant Choudhary focused their campaign on farmers’ issues and attacked the Adityanath government over election promises.

BSP chief Mayawati, who jumped into the election campaign of late, reminded people of her government’s track record of law and order in the past.

Under the leadership of its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress campaigned from door to door.

In the last assembly elections, BJP had won almost all the assembly seats in the first phase. Five years ago, the BJP had won 53 of the 58 seats, while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) had two seats each and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) won one seat.

Campaigning in the politically crucial constituencies going to polls in the first round of seven phases of elections in the politically crucial state ended on Tuesday evening.

Voting will begin at 7 am in these constituencies as per the guidelines of the Election Commission to ensure a COVID-safe election.

Campaigning for the first phase was restricted to the virtual medium due to restrictions on road shows and physical rallies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Elections will be held in Shamli, Hapur, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mathura and Agra districts. The first phase will cover the Jat-dominated region of western UP, from where farmers actively participated in the agitation against the Centre’s three agricultural laws in the national capital.